High-altitude 'car-sized' object shot down over Alaska, says White House

10 February 2023, 19:47 | Updated: 11 February 2023, 10:05

Spokesman John Kirby revealed details in a press conference less than a week after a Chinese spy balloon was shot down
Spokesman John Kirby revealed details in a press conference less than a week after a Chinese spy balloon was shot down. Picture: Alamy/Social media

By Emma Soteriou

A high-altitude object has been shot down over Alaska, the White House has said.

President Biden made the decision to shoot down the object of unknown origin, following recommendation from the Pentagon.

The object was flying at about 40,000ft on Friday and posed a "reasonable threat" to the safety of civilian flights, said John Kirby, White House National Security Council spokesman.

Mr Kirby said the object was roughly the size of a small car and fell into US waters on the far northeastern part of Alaska near the Canadian border.

He said the American pilot's assessment was that no human was aboard.

The ownership of the aircraft remains unknown.

Read more: 'I would shoot down a Chinese spy balloon' Ben Wallace says as US says more have flown around globe

Read more: China has conducted spy balloon programme for years, says Pentagon

Mr Kirby explained that the discovery of the new object and its track first came to US attention on Thursday night.

He said that, unlike the Chinese balloon, this object did not appear to be manoeuvrable and was at the mercy of the wind.

There had been no indications of a military threat to people on the ground and whether it carried surveillance equipment was not immediately clear, the official said.

It comes after a Chinese spy balloon was shot down in American airspace last Saturday.

China has continued to claim that the balloon was merely a weather research "airship" that had been blown off course.

But the Pentagon rejected that out of hand - as well as China's contention that it was not being used for surveillance and had only limited navigational ability.

Officials are still recovering debris from that object, which was shot down off the coast of South Carolina.

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