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US military tracking high-altitude balloon flying over Western US

It is unclear where the high-altitude balloon originated from at this time

Ariana Baio,Mike Bedigan
Friday 23 February 2024 23:19 GMT
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Spy balloons: What are they?

The US military is tracking a high-altitude balloon flying over the Western part of the country.

According to CBS, who was the first to report the news, the balloon was spotted by US military drifting over Colorado early on Friday.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command Public Affairs (NORAD) said that the balloon was later intercepted by its fighters over Utah, who determined it was not a threat to national security.

A statement from NORAD, shared with The Independent, read: “In close coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) detected a small balloon at an altitude varying between 43,000-45,000 ft.

“The balloon was intercepted by NORAD fighters over Utah, who determined it was not maneuverable and did not present a threat to national security. NORAD will continue to track and monitor the balloon.”

The statement added that the FAA had also determined the balloon posed no hazard to flight safety. “NORAD remains in close coordination with the FAA to ensure flight safety,” it said.

The presence of the high-altitude balloon comes approximately one year after a high-altitude balloon originating from China drifted over the US (Chad Fish)

It is unclear where the high-altitude balloon originated from at this time.

The presence of the high-altitude balloon comes approximately one year after a high-altitude balloon originating from China drifted over the US, causing national attention and political tension.

Last February, a massive balloon dubbed the “Chinese spy balloon”, became the centre of awe and panic when it entered the northern US and floated over the country over several days. The balloon was believed to be collecting intelligence for China, leading lawmakers to demand President Joe Biden shoot the balloon down.

However, the size of the balloon proved to be an issue for the US as they had to wait until it drifted over the Atlantic Ocean to shoot it down.

Months after the incident, the Pentagon said that the balloon did not collect any intelligence.

The Pentagon directed further enquiries about the balloon to NORAD.

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