US Jets Intercept High-Altitude Balloon Over Utah


A high-altitude balloon floating over the western region of the United States was intercepted by US military aircraft, as reported by CBS News, the BBC’s media partner. US officials clarified that the balloon, which was sighted drifting east over Colorado and Utah on Friday, was neither manoeuvrable nor a threat to national security. However, its origin and purpose remain unclear.

In a similar incident last year, a Chinese balloon was shot down by the US after it traversed the country from Alaska to the east coast. The recent balloon was intercepted over Utah by US military aircraft, who confirmed it posed no threat to national security or civil aviation.

The balloon incident in February last year led to a diplomatic crisis between Washington and Beijing. The Chinese authorities refuted claims that it was a spy aircraft, instead describing it as a weather ship that had been blown off course. This incident prompted Secretary of State Antony Blinken to cancel his trip to China, labelling the airship’s presence as an “irresponsible act”. The balloon was eventually destroyed by an F-22 jet fighter off the South Carolina coast.

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