President Biden on Thursday acknowledged that the three unidentified objects he ordered the US military to shoot down were likely harmless weather balloons.
“The intelligence community’s current assessment is that these three objects were most likely balloons tied to private companies, recreation, or research institutions studying weather or conducting other scientific research,” Biden said.
Following the panic caused by the Chinese balloon that floated over the United States, US fighter jets shot down unidentified objects on February 10, 11, and 12 using heat-seeking AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles, which are worth over $400,000 apiece.
Biden said the military was still working to collect the debris. “Our military and the Canadian military are seeking to recover the debris so we can learn more about these three objects,” he said.
According to a report from Aviation Week, at least one of the objects may have been a hobby balloon reported missing by a club in Illinois that launches small balloons with tracking devices that are capable of traveling the globe at high altitudes.
The club, the Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade (NIBBB), said its balloon was last reported off the coast of Alaska on February 10, and tracking data projected that it would be floating over Canada’s Yukon Territory on February 11, the same day a US F-22 shot down an object in the area….