• For full details of graphics available/in preparation, see Menu -> Planners
 China spy balloon factfile infographic
Graphic shows details of suspected Chinese spy balloon.


Suspected Chinese spy balloon was 200ft tall

February 7, 2023 - A suspected Chinese surveillance balloon shot down off the U.S. coast was about 200 feet (60m) tall and carrying an airliner-sized load, officials say.

At a briefing on Monday, a U.S. defence official said the size and make-up of the object informed the decision not to shoot it down while it was over land.

“Picture large debris weighing hundreds if not thousands of pounds falling out of the sky,” Gen Glen VanHerck said.

The U.S. is still working to recover debris off the coast of South Carolina.

Remnants of the object – which the U.S. believes is a spy balloon but China says is a weather monitoring device blown astray – have been collected from a roughly 1,500m by 1,500m sized area, but it is thought debris is spread over a far larger site.

A U.S. Air Force F-22 shot the balloon down on Saturday, days after it first appeared over U.S. territory. It sent debris hurtling down about six nautical miles off the US coast, the BBC said.

PUBLISHED: 07/02/2023; STORY: Graphic News