FBI to examine possible debris of Chinese spy craft found by Alaskan fishermen

The US shot down multiple suspected Chinese spy flights last year

The FBI is investigating possible debris from a Chinese spy craft that flew over Alaska early last year after a fisherman reported the curious finding on Friday.

An Alaskan fishing vessel recovered the debris days ago and is expected to return to the coast sometime this weekend and turn it over to the FBI for examination, according to ABC News.

"The FBI is aware of debris found off the coast of Alaska by a commercial fishing vessel. We will work with our partners to assist with the logistics of the debris recovery," the FBI said in a statement on Friday.

FBI sources emphasized to the outlet that it has yet to determine whether the craft if of foreign origin, but the recovered material is being taken to the FBI lab in Quantico, as was material recovered from a confirmed Chinese spy balloon last year.


Balloon recovery

U.S. forces haul debris from China's surveillance balloon onto a boat off the coast of South Carolina in 2023. Similar debris has reportedly been found off the coast of Alaska. (US Fleet Forces)

 President Biden's administration was met with a firestorm last year after U.S. intelligence tracked a Chinese balloon as it entered U.S. airspace over Alaska and then crossed the entire continental U.S. before being shot down just off the coast of South Carolina.

U.S. intelligence admitted at the time that the balloon was not an isolated incident, and the debris recovered in Alaska this week may be of the same origin.


high altitude balloon

In this image provided by the Department of Defense, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023, a U.S. Air Force U-2 pilot looks down at a Chinese surveillance balloon as it hovers over the United States on Feb. 3, 2023. (Department of Defense via AP, File)

The U.S. intercepted another high-altitude balloon over Utah in late February, but officials said they determined it was a hobbyist balloon and it eventually left U.S. airspace.

"The balloon was intercepted by NORAD fighters over Utah, who determined it was not maneuverable and did not present a threat to national security. NORAD will continue to track and monitor the balloon," NORAD said. "The FAA also determined the balloon posed no hazard to flight safety. NORAD remains in close coordination with the FAA to ensure flight safety."

Balloon recovery

Debris from the shot-down Chinese balloon was taken to the FBI's facilities in Quantico. (US Fleet Forces)

China initially claimed that last year's balloons were merely weather balloons that blew off course and sailed into U.S. airspace. U.S. authorities deemed that to be untrue, noting surveillance equipment found on the craft.

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