U.S. Navy Releases Photo Trove Of Downed Balloon

(FreedomBeacon.com)- On Tuesday, ABC News reported that the US Navy released photos showing the recovery of the destroyed Chinese spy balloon shot down off the coast of South Carolina last weekend.

US F-22 jets from Langley Air Force Base shot down the balloon over the Atlantic Saturday afternoon using a single air-to-air, Pentagon officials confirmed. According to CBS News, Pentagon officials also confirmed on Saturday that vessels from both the US Navy and Coast Guard were in the vicinity of the crash site to recover the debris.

The majority of the balloon’s fabric that remained floating on the surface had been recovered, although some pieces may end up washing ashore, ABC News reported.

During a Pentagon press briefing on Monday, NORAD commander Gen. Glen VanHerck said the Navy was using a Pathfinder vessel with side-scan radar to see what was on the ocean floor. A small portion of the payload that was floating on the surface has also been recovered.

According to ABC News, divers were working to recover parts of the balloon’s payload that likely sunk to the bottom when the balloon crashed into the ocean. Small underwater drones are also being used in the recovery effort.

Officials said the entire debris field is approximately 15 football fields wide and 15 football fields long.

Experts from the FBI were also aboard the recovery vessels, according to the Pentagon. Pieces retrieved would be taken to the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia, for analysis.

One Pentagon official said the payload aboard the balloon that carried the sensor/photography equipment was not intact. So far, only a portion of it had been located by divers as the search has been hampered by bad weather.

On Thursday CNN reported that the FBI began its initial analysis of the debris recovered from the surface of the water, which included the balloon’s fabric and wiring, along with a “very small amount of electronics.”