The White House has announced that the U.S. military has taken down an unidentified flying object off the coast of Alaska.
The news of the Alaskan object being taken down comes after the U.S. government announced it successfully brought down a Chinese weather balloon off the coast of South Carolina. The balloon was suspected of conducting intelligence operations, and President Biden ordered its removal from U.S. airspace. The wreckage from the balloon was recovered a few days ago, and officials said that the balloon was equipped with multiple devices capable of intercepting and geolocating communications.
On Friday, the Pentagon commented on the object detected off the coast of the northeastern part of Alaska, saying it was much smaller than the Chinese weather balloon brought down a week earlier and that F22 shot down the object at 1:45 pm E.S.T. Notably, the Pentagon said the object was flying at about 40,000 feet and posed a risk to civilian air traffic, hence the decision for it to be taken down. U.S. Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder, the Pentagon's chief spokesperson, said that pilots that flew alongside the object determined that the object was unmanned, was unable to maneuver in the air, and didn't resemble an aircraft.
Some of the pilots gave differing reports on what they saw and experienced while flying next to the object. Some, but not all of the pilots said the object interfered with their sensors and had no identifiable propulsion method, leading to some pilots not being able to explain how the object was remaining airborne. Reports state that the differing reports from the pilots are party why the Pentagon hasn't been able to identify the object accurately.
Furthermore, Ryder wouldn't confirm if the object was a different type of weather balloon or an object similar. "It wasn't an aircraft per se," Ryder told a news briefing. Ryder added that the important aspect of the inspection process for unknown objects is to treat every incident individually. The first step is to observe the object and attempt to determine its purpose, then take appropriate action. The object is described to be roughly the size of a small car.
White House spokesperson John Kirby said that the U.S. government is currently recovering the wreckage of the object and that it's unaware of its origin. Kirby added that "we don't know who owns this object" or where it began its flight.
It should be noted that Federal Aviation Administration said that it closed a portion of airspace in northern Alaska for the Department of Defense (D.O.D.) that was conducting activities in the area.