US military spots another mysterious balloon in the skies above Hawaii

Representational image. AP

Another mysterious balloon has been spotted flying over the US sky. Officials from the Department of Defence said that the unmanned high-altitude object was flying over Hawaii, but its exact origin and nature remain unclear.

US officials told NBC News that they are yet to identify whether the “mysterious” object is a weather balloon or something else.

‘Could shoot it down if it approaches land’

According to the officials, the Pentagon has been tracking the object since “late last week”, adding that its flight path over the islands has so far not taken it over any “sensitive” military areas.

The US military believes the balloon is unlikely to pose threat to air traffic or the national security.

“The suspected balloon does not appear to be manoeuvring, or sending out any signals,” said an official.

“The balloon did not transit directly over defence critical infrastructure or other US Government sensitive sites, nor did it pose a military or physical threat to people on the ground,” the US defence department statement read.

“Based on these observations, the Secretary of Defence concurred with the recommendation of his military commanders that no action need be taken against the balloon,” the department spokesman said.

Meanwhile, the military officials have warned that they could shoot down the mysterious balloon if it approaches land.

China again behind ‘mysterious balloon’ in US?

The Pentagon is still working on identifying the object and its owner. They, however, are of the view that the ‘mysterious balloon’ does not belong to China.

The news of the ‘mysterious balloon’ over the Pacific Ocean comes a few days after a series of flying objects, including a Chinese spy balloon, were detected by the US officials earlier this year.

In February, an alleged Chinese surveillance balloon was shot down by the US off the coast of the Carolinas.

Also, within a week after the downing of the Chinese spy balloon, three other unidentified objects floating over North America were destroyed. One was described as the size of a small car which was shot down after it was spotted over Alaska, and a US fighter jet took down another small object spotted over Yukon in northwest Canada. An octagonal structure was also spotted and shot down over Lake Huron later.

The US officials have claimed that China has been operating an aerial balloon programme since 2017 for surveillance purposes or to test the US government’s response. They also confirmed that the Chinese surveillance balloon was able to gather intelligence from sensitive military sites.

With inputs from agencies

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