MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — The Myrtle Beach Police Department held a news conference Sunday morning to urge citizens not to touch any debris from the suspected Chinese spy balloon that may wash ashore after it was shot down Saturday off the Carolina coast.

Those who spot debris within the Myrtle Beach city limits is asked to call the police department’s non-emergency line at 843-918-1382.

“All the respective agencies are aware that debris may come ashore and we do want to make sure we’re contacted right away so we can secure that for the federal investigation,” Sgt. Tom Vest said in the news conference.

Vest said touching the balloon debris would tamper with a federal investigation.

He also noted how Myrtle Beach has had several strange incidents that received national attention, including the red jeep, the boat that washed ashore during Hurricane Ian, and now the balloon.

“One thing about this area is we’re very popular,” Vest said. “We have a lot of people that come into town. For some reason, we also seem to have our fair share of strange things on the beach.”

Vest said anyone unsure whether something is related to the balloon should call the non-emergency line immediately.

Other agencies have issued similar warnings to call those respective agencies if debris washes ashore.

  • Horry County Police Department: 843-248-1520
  • Surfside Beach Police Department: 843-913-6368
  • North Myrtle Beach Police Department: 843-280-5511

A replay of the news conference is available above.

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Kevin Accettulla is the digital executive producer at News13. Kevin is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He joined the News13 team in March 2020 after nearly two years at a sister station in Pennsylvania. Follow Kevin on Twitter and read more of his work here.