China rocket debris recovered in Philippines waters

METAL debris, apparently from a rocket launched by China, were recovered in the waters off Occidental Mindoro and Palawan, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) revealed.

The debris were found on Sunday and Monday, respectively in the two locations, the reported.

On Sunday, the PCG said they responded to a report that fishermen found "metallic debris" off the coast of Barangay Poblacion in Calintaan, Occidental Mindoro.

"The identification of the debris is still unknown and remains at the site for inspection," the PCG said.

The following day, a resident of Barangay Cheey in Busuanga, Palawan found a piece of metal, suspected to be debris from Chinese rocket Long March 5B.

It was verified as a "white painted, curve shaped, and more or less six-meter-long metallic debris".

"Based on the proximity from the drop zone and visual perusal of photos released by Palawan authorities, there is a high likelihood that the debris found in Busuanga was part of the rocket fairing of Long March 5B.

"In addition, it is highly likely that the pieces of debris reportedly found off the waters of Calintaan, Occidental Mindoro, were also part of the said rocket component," the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) said on Wednesday.

PhilSA said the National Coast Watch Center verified the retrieval of the debris in the two areas and that it would be placed under the custody and disposal of the Philippine government.

In September, PhilSA warned the public of falling debris from a rocket launched by China.

While debris from the rocket was unlikely to fall on Philippine soil, the agency said there could be some in airspace and maritime waters, which could affect aircraft or sea vessels.

"PhilSA would like to reiterate its sustained efforts to promote and encourage accountability among nations for objects launched into space," it said in a statement.

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