Updated Feb 10, 2023, 3:52pm EST
North America

The US military shot down a high-altitude object over Alaska


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The News

The U.S. military has shot down a “high-altitude object” — the size of a small car — flying over Alaska, White House National Security Council official John Kirby said Friday.

“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,” Kirby told reporters during a White House briefing.

White House National Security Council official John Kirby
REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
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The news comes nearly a week after an alleged Chinese surveillance balloon was shot off the Atlantic coast.

The “high-altitude object” was shot down over territorial waters on Friday at approximately 1:45 p.m. local time, the Pentagon said.

Kirby did not specify what the object is suspected to be.


“We’re calling this an object because that’s the best description we have right now,” Kirby said. “We do not know who owns it, whether it’s state-owned or corporate-owned or privately-owned. We just don’t know.”

In a briefing, the Pentagon said the object was much smaller than the so-called spy balloon, adding that it was about the size of a small car.

Air Force Brigadier General Pat Ryder added that the object was shot down immediately because it posed a risk to civilian air traffic. The alleged spy balloon had been flying at a much higher altitude, between 80,000 and 120,000 feet.

Chinese counterparts had not been contacted upon detection of the object, Ryder said.