The United States’ Department of Defense is tracking another mysterious balloon, initially spotted in the airspace over Hawaii, officials said.
“Ownership of the balloon is unknown, but there is no indication that it was maneuvering or being controlled by a foreign or adversarial actor,” a spokesperson told the Honolulu Star Advertiser. “The balloon did not transit directly over defense critical infrastructure or other U.S. Government sensitive sites, nor did it pose a military or physical threat to people on the ground.”
The unmanned, high-altitude object was first detected by the Federal Aviation Administration on Friday, floating along the coast of Hawaii at about 36,000 feet. It’s not clear if it’s a weather balloon or something else, sources told NBC News, adding that the U.S. could still shoot it down if it approaches land.
The object is currently nearing Mexico.
The spotting comes after the Air Force in February shot down a large Chinese balloon off the coast of South Carolina. It traveled over several key military bases before it was downed by an F-22 jet. The United States said at the time intelligence officials confirmed it was a spy balloon, a claim that was later rejected by Beijing.
US officials have said the device was able to gather intelligence from several sensitive American military sites, despite the Biden administration’s efforts to prevent it from doing so.
The US and Canadian militaries shot down several more unidentified flying objects over Alaska and Canada in the following weeks. The White House has since said they were either likely small weather balloons or objects sent into the air by hobbyists.