The United States military provided additional information Monday afternoon regarding another mystery balloon that floated over Hawaii this past week.
“On April 28th, the DOD along with the Federal Aviation Admin. (FAA) spotted and monitored an unmanned balloon near the coast of Hawaii, floating at about 36,000 feet, using freshly-established parameters in order to monitor U.S. airspace,” a DOD spokeswoman noted in a statement.
“Ownership of this balloon is not known, but there’s no evidence suggesting that it was maneuvering or being directed by a foreign or hostile actor,” according to the statement. “The balloon wasn’t flying directly above critical defense facilities or any sensitive US Government sites, nor did it represent a military or a physical danger to individuals on the ground.”
Despite flying at a common civil aviation altitude, officials said it didn’t present a threat to civil aviation.
“Based on these findings, the U.S. Secretary of Defense agreed with his military officers’ recommendation that no further action should be taken against this balloon,” the statement concluded. “The balloon is no longer in Hawaiian airspace or territorial waters.”
NBC News reported earlier on Monday that officials think the balloon is presently en route to Mexico.
The revelation comes after a Chinese surveillance balloon soared above the United States in February after President Biden’s admin. failed to shoot it down when it had initially entered US territory.
Biden officials first stated before Congress that they took precautions to avoid the Chinese surveillance balloon from transmitting any information it acquired while flying over key US military sites.
Despite the Pentagon’s assertions that it restricted transmission, a report from earlier this past month showed that the balloon collected and transmitted intelligence from numerous sensitive American military locations.
According to the report, which quotes two present American officials and one prior administration official, China controlled the balloon, which navigated it to complete several passes above specific military sites, at times in a pattern resembling a figure-8 – while continually transmitting the information collected back to Beijing in “real time.” According to the three officials, the material received by China was mostly electronic signals taken from weapons systems or as base communications.
On February 4, a single air-to-air AIM-9X Sidewinder missile fired from an F-22 Raptor was used to bring down a surveillance balloon above the Atlantic Ocean.
The balloon was as much as 200 feet in height and weighed “within excess of two thousand pounds,” according to General Glen VanHerck, Commander of the U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command.
Following the downing of the balloon, the United States shot down three more unknown objects above Alaska, Lake Huron, and Canada.