(SNews) – The U.S. military shot down an object flying over Alaskan airspace Friday days after shooting down 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.
— 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.
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 a 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.
Kirby: A "high altitude object" has been shot down over Alaska pic.twitter.com/Ps2W9nCBHz
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) February 10, 2023