The U.S. military has shot down an object flying over Alaskan airspace after it was deemed a “threat” by government officials.
The object was shot on Friday, just days after the U.S. Air Force downed a Chinese spy balloon along the South Carolina coast.
John Kirby, a national security spokesperson for the White House, said: “The object was flying at an altitude of 40,000 feet and posed a reasonable threat to the safety of civilian flight.
“Out of an abundance of caution, and at the recommendation of the Pentagon, President Biden ordered the military to down the object and they did and it came inside our territorial waters and those waters right now are frozen.”
The object was shot down within the last hour at President Biden’s direction, Kirby said.
It landed in U.S. waters.
Stop trading with #China. They are a terror state. | U.S. shoots down ‘high-altitude object’ over Alaska airspace, White House says – NBC News https://t.co/oEcwWi0yhm
— Dan Gainor (@dangainor) February 10, 2023
A U.S. official said there were “no affirmative indications of military threat” from the object.
Officials said they could not confirm whether there was any surveillance equipment on the object that was shot down.
Kirby: A “high altitude object” has been shot down over Alaska pic.twitter.com/Ps2W9nCBHz
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) February 10, 2023
BREAKING: U.S. takes down a second flying object, this time flying over Alaska, White House National Security Council says. https://t.co/4cYLLJZed5
— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 10, 2023
According to The New York Times:
The latest breach, officials said, took place Thursday night, over Alaska. One official described it as a “fast-moving” situation that was still developing. It is not clear if the object was from an adversarial power, or a commercial or research operation that has gone astray, the official said.
The breach of American airspace on Thursday was relatively short, according to officials, which is one reason officials could not immediately identify what type of object was involved.
The transit of the Chinese spy balloon last week, which ended with it being shot down Saturday off the South Carolina coast by an F-22 fighter jet, transfixed the American public.
The White House has been criticized by some Republicans for not immediately shooting the balloon down, but President Biden has said he was acting on the recommendation of military officials, who said to wait until the balloon was over water before destroying it to minimize any risk to people on the ground.