American fighter aircraft intercept high-altitude weather balloon

NORAD, the military command responsible for air defense over the U.S. and Canada, confirmed it had detected a small, high-altitude balloon drifting across the U.S. border.

The balloon, detected floating between 43,000 and 45,000 feet, raised concerns leading to NORAD’s intervention over Utah. However, after investigation, it was determined that the balloon was not maneuverable and posed no risk to national security or flight safety, as confirmed by both NORAD and the FAA.

“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,” NORAD said in a statement.

This incident follows heightened sensitivity to balloon overflights since a previous encounter involving a large, white Chinese spy balloon last year, which led to diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and China. Despite similarities, officials clarified that the recent balloon was not associated with any foreign adversary.

Last year’s balloon incident resulted in the cancellation of Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s trip to China, labeling the airship’s presence as an “irresponsible act” and culminating in the interception and destruction of the balloon by an F-22 jet fighter off the coast of South Carolina.

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