Air traffic control confirmed that another large white balloon had been spotted in international airspace around Hawaii. The balloon was reported to have been flying at around 40,000 to 50,000 feet. At this moment, it’s unclear if the new balloon is benign or if it is related to the Chinese spy balloon that was shot down in early February. The former balloon surveyed sensitive US military bases in Montana. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told his Chinese counterpart that the spy balloon was unacceptable and must never happen again.
By Paul Bois; February 19, 2023
Air Traffic Control (ATC) confirmed that a “large white balloon” has been spotted just northeast of Hawaii.
The Oakland Oceanic Air Traffic Control Center said on Sunday that a white ballon was spotted over the Pacific Ocean just 594 miles northeast of Honolulu.
“The balloon was reported to be flying at an altitude of roughly 40,000 to 50,000 feet (12,000 to 15,000 meters). ‘Advice [air traffic control] if object is seen,’ the message to pilots said,” per NO News. “The coordinates in the message put the balloon in international airspace in an area where the U.S. handles air traffic control.”
The spotted balloon, which may or may not be a benign object, comes after the United States shot down a Chinese spy balloon that floated over the United States after it entered Montana through Canada. According to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, China has still given no apology for the incident. Speaking with NBC’s Meet the Press, Blinken said that his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, did not apologize during a recent meeting.
“I don’t want to characterize what he said. I don’t think that would be appropriate,” Blinken said. “Although I can tell you, no, there was no apology.”
Blinken said that the balloon surveyed sensitive military sites in Montana, including missile and nuclear weapons silos, calling it an intentional act, which China denies.
“It attempted to surveil very sensitive military sites. In some cases, it loitered or returned to them as it progressed east.” said Blinken. “So there’s no doubt in our minds at all that, A: this was a surveillance balloon. And B: it was attempting to engage in active surveillance.”
“I told Wang Yi, my Chinese counterpart, (the balloon) was unacceptable and must never happen again,” said Blinken.
The United States also recently shot down three “unidentified objects” over the U.S. and Canada in the wake of the balloon incident, but their origins remain unknown at this time. As Breitbart News reported, the objects destroyed may have been benign in nature, with one possibly belonging to an Illinois Hobby Club.
“An Illinois-based hobbyist club is concerned that one of their small, globe-trotting balloons, which was recently declared ‘missing in action,’ was shot down by U.S. Air Force last week,” noted the report.
“Although the Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade is not yet pointing fingers at the federal government, the group has reason to believe its ‘pico balloon’ may have been one of the three mystery objects shot down by Air Force fighters last week after discovering and shooting down a Chinese spy balloon,” it added.
Photo: Chad Fish via AP, File