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Suspected Chinese spy balloon recovered from Atlantic by Virginia Beach-based sailors

A group of sailors stationed at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek successfully recovered what is believed to be a Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon from the Atlantic Ocean. The retrieval mission was carried out by members of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 2 and the USS Carter Hall, and documented in photos released by the U.S. Navy. The balloon was brought down on Saturday by an F-22 Raptor fighter from Langley Air Force Base's 1st Fighter Wing using an AIM-9X Sidewinder missile.

Recovery efforts, led by the amphibious landing ship USS Carter Hall, began on Sunday and were supported by the USS Oscar Austin, USS Philippine Sea, and USNS Pathfinder. Federal agents from the FBI and Naval Criminal Investigative Service were also present to support counterintelligence efforts.

The balloon was first detected on January 28 when it entered U.S. airspace over the Aleutian Islands in Alaska, before passing over Canada and reentering U.S. airspace over Idaho. President Joe Biden gave the order to shoot down the balloon on Wednesday, after ensuring it posed no risk to people on the ground.

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