A U.S. Navy underwater drone operating in international waters was captured by a Chinese warship in the South China Sea, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said in a statement on Friday.
The drone is not armed and is used for gathering weather and temperature data. The incident occurred Thursday.
The drone was launched by the USNS Bowditch, a civilian crewed oceanographic ship that is operated by the Military Sealift Command, off the coast of the Philippines. These types of drones, called gliders, typically collect unclassified data, such as water temperatures and salinity levels.
The Bowditch was about to recover the glider when a Chinese Dalang III class Chinese warship approached within 500 yards of the Bowditch, launched a small vessel and snatched the drone out of the water, the Pentagon said.
The boat brought the device back to the Chinese warship, which then headed away.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Jim Michaels