The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has confirmed that air restrictions were in place on Saturday after a “fourth balloon” was spotted in the skies above the state.
The FAA announced that the temporary flight restriction was in place over a portion of Montana due to “Department of Defense activities.”
The move came shortly after an “unidentified object” was shot down over Canada earlier in the day.
“The FAA closed some airspace in Montana to support Department of Defense activities,” the FAA confirmed in a statement.
The airspace was closed down in the area around Havre, Montana, not far from the U.S. border with Canada.
The FAA said the directive was “effective immediately until further notice.”
Shortly after that announcement, the FAA said the airspace has been reopened but did not provide further details.
On Saturday evening, Montana Republican Rep. Matt Rosendale posted on Twitter that an “object” was spotted over Montana.
He warns that it could potentially interfere with commercial air travel.
I am in direct contact with NORCOM and monitoring the latest issue over Havre and the northern border. Airspace is closed due to an object that could interfere with commercial air traffic — the DOD will resume efforts to observe and ground the object in the morning.
— Matt Rosendale (@RepRosendale) February 12, 2023
Rosendale posted after the restriction was lifted that he “will remain in contact with defense officials and share more information as it becomes available” because “Montanans deserve answers.”
Matt Rosendale said he had been briefed by the Department of Defense, while he was at a Lincoln Reagan dinner.
Fighter jets were scrambled and airspace above Havre, a town of 10,000 people, 30 miles south of the Canadian border, was shut at 7:50 pm before being reopened about 50 minutes later.
Rosendale later issued a statement saying DOD officials have confirmed that the “unidentified object” above Montana is “the fourth balloon.”
“I’m at an event, a Lincoln Reagan dinner in Columbus, Montana right now,” Rosendale told Fox News.
“And DOD called me as I have been sitting here and started giving me briefings to tell me what was going on.
“I clarified with them that this is actually the fourth balloon, OK.
“The first we shot down over the Atlantic
“One was shot down before it entered into Alaska’s airspace.
“A third was shot down, Trudeau ordered over Canada.
“So now we’re talking about a fourth incident.”
Rosendale also revealed that the U.S. military has been unable to down the object and the situation is continuing into Sunday.
He said he was told the Pentagon would follow the object but was unable to shoot it down on Saturday night because it was dark.
“DOD told me that they are going to be tracking the object – they can’t even say exactly what it is – they are going to track the object until it gets light again,” Rosendale continued.
“They don’t have the ability to put any more eyes on it with aircraft until it’s light again.
“And then tomorrow morning we’ll be dealing with it.”
Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) also commented on the object that was found in Montana’s airspace.
“I’m in direct contact with the Pentagon regarding the object in Montana’s airspace and will receive frequent updates,” Daines said.
“Montanans still have questions about the Chinese spy balloon that flew over our state last week.
“I’ll continue to demand answers on these invasions of US airspace.”
Shortly after Rosendale’s tweet, NORAD issued a statement saying that it “detected a radar anomaly and sent fighter aircraft to investigate.”
“Those aircraft did not identify any object to correlate to the radar hits,” the statement said.
“NORAD will continue to monitor the situation.”
News of the radar anomaly comes shortly after an unknown object was shot down by a U.S. military fighter jet over Canada in a joint NORAD operation between Canada and the United States.
The object was the third object to be shot down by a U.S.-owned F-22 Raptor in the last week.
On Friday, an unidentified object of an unknown origin was shot down in northern Alaska in an incident that came roughly a week after a Chinese surveillance balloon was shot down off the coast of South Carolina.