US tracking mystery balloon – media
The US military has been tracking another flying object over the Pacific Ocean, NBC News reported on Monday citing three unnamed US officials. What was described as a “mysterious balloon,” had flown over Hawaii and is currently headed towards Mexico.
What exactly the object may be, or who it belongs to, was not clear, the anonymous officials told NBC. Its flight path over the islands did not take it over any “sensitive” military areas.
The Pentagon has been tracking the object since “late last week,” and the military believes it poses no threat to air traffic or US national security. The suspected balloon does not appear to be maneuvering, or sending out any signals, according to one official.
The US is still working on identifying the object and its owner. The military reportedly does not believe it is Chinese in origin at this time.
Reports of another balloon in US airspace comes almost three months after the American military shot down a “Chinese spy balloon” off the coast of South Carolina. The object was first spotted over northern Montana, triggering concerns about Beijing spying on US nuclear silos. The order to shoot it down came only after it had flown across the entire continental US, and descended to where air force jets could reach it.
It was also NBC that reported additional claims about the balloon early last month, also citing three anonymous officials. According to the trio, the balloon was piloted remotely so China could make “multiple passes” over certain sites to collect signals intelligence, and accelerated after being discovered so it would get out of US airspace faster.
Beijing described the balloon as a weather probe that drifted off course, denied all allegations that it was used for spying, and demanded the return of any debris the US recovered. China also accused the US of “overreaction” to the flying object.
The frenzy over “spy balloons” led to the US and Canada shooting down several more aerial objects in February. One turned out to be a toy balloon belonging to a Michigan hobbyist society, a $200 device sent to circumnavigate the globe for fun. The Sidewinder missile used to shoot it down cost at least $470,000.