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Updated February 20th, 2023 at 10:41 IST

'Large white balloon spotted northeast of Hawaii, USA': days after four objects downed

A large white balloon spotted at an altitude of approximately 40,000 to 50,000 feet over Honolulu, Hawaii in the US. 

Reported by: Digital Desk
Edited by: Digital Desk
balloon
Image: AP/Twitter | Image:self
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New reports have emerged on social media of a large white balloon spotted at an altitude of approximately 40,000 to 50,000 feet over Honolulu, Hawaii in the US. Some observers have speculated that it may be a Chinese spy balloon or a weather balloon accidentally released by the US Air Force.

Multiple pilots claim to have seen the object and one image circulating online shows a pilot holding a note about it. The Oakland Oceanic Air Traffic Control Center has confirmed the object's existence, but it remains unclear who the object belongs to or whether it poses a threat to the public, BNO News reported. These reports have not yet been verified by US officials or Air Traffic Control.

An image circulating online shows what appears to be a pilot in the cockpit holding a note. This note reads: "Report of large white balloon in vicinity of 2639N15021W. Estimated to be between FL400 and FL500. Precise altitude unknown. Advise ATC if object is seen."

"Is this China or is the the US Air Force about to accidentally shoot down another weather balloon?" a tweet asked.

'Objects' shot down in US this past month

The news surfaced on January 28 of an object flying over the US state of Alaska. The giant balloon in Alaska drifted into Canadian territory through the west coast and continued through the US before reaching the east coast off South Carolina state. It took almost six days after being spotted, for the balloon to be downed by the US on February 4. A day earlier on February 3, the US Department of Defense had also said that it had identified a second Chinese "surveillance balloon" flying over Latin American countries.

On February 10, six days after the first balloon was shot down, US fighter jets downed another object off the coast of northern Alaska. US officials said that the object had lacked control and defended their decision by saying it was “within US sovereign airspace over US territorial water”. 

February 11 saw yet another incident, this time over Canadian territory. Acting on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's order in-lieu with Biden, Canadian and US jets were scrambled with a US F-22 jet downing another “high-altitude airborne object” over Canada's Yukon territory. The latest incident on February 12 comprised Biden ordering fighter jets to take down an unidentified object over Lake Huron in Michigan state. 

Only the first object has been attributed to Beijing, along with the balloon over Latin America.

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Published February 20th, 2023 at 10:41 IST

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