US shoots down ‘high-altitude object’ over Alaska, White House says
The shootdown happened over the last 24 hours.
ABC NEWS—The White House said Friday that a ‘high-altitude object’ has been shot down over Alaska.
President Joe Biden ordered the shootdown, spokesman John Kirby said, adding that the origin of the object wasn’t determined.
He said it was about the size of a small car and was at flying about 40,000 feet.
He said because it posed a reasonable threat to the safety of civilian flight, that out of an abundance of caution and at the recommendation of the Pentagon, Biden ordered the military to down the object.
“it came in, inside our territorial waters, those waters right now are frozen, but inside territorial airspace and over territorial waters. Fighter aircraft assigned to U.S. Northern command took down the object within the last hour,” Kirby said.
“We don’t know who owns this object,” he said. The object came to U.S. attention Thursday evening, Kirby said, and was taken down in the last hour.
It did not appear to have maneuverability capability, he said.”It was virtually at the whim of the wind.”
Fighter aircraft checked if it was manned and determined and he said it wasn’t. “We were able to get some fighter aircraft up and around it before the order to shoot it down. And the pilots’ assessment was that this was not manned.”
“It was difficult for the pilots to glean a whole lot of information,” he said, adding, “There was a limit to how much they could divine.”
Biden was briefed last night: Kirby told Karen Travers Biden was briefed last night. “He was as soon –as as soon as the Pentagon had enough information.”
Fighter aircraft first saw it late last night, it was a small object, and they were flying at high speed, he said. They did another flight “early this morning” to try to learn more. The flight early this morning “ended in a shootdown,” Kirby said.
Biden gave order to shoot it down Friday morning. Hew said the “predominant” reason Biden ordered it shot down was the “safety” of flights traveling at that altitude. And the fact that it was at the mercy of prevailing winds made its flight path less predictable. “And the president just wasn’t able to take that risk.”
“We do expect to be able to recover the debris since it fell not only within our territorial space, but on what we what we believe is frozen water, ” Kirby said. “So. a recovery effort will be made, and we’re hopeful that it will be successful and then we can learn a little bit more about it.”
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.