Senator Schumer says 2 downed objects are believed to be balloons

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States believes the unidentified objects shot down by American warplanes over Canada and Alaska were balloons, though they were smaller than the Chinese balloon shot down over the Atlantic last weekend, it said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Sunday.

Schumer, DN.Y., told ABC’s This Week that he was briefed on the Yukon Saturday night by Jake Sullivan, President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, following the incident hours earlier. An object the size of a small car was shot down over remote Alaska on Friday, according to the White House.

When asked if these two most recent objects were balloons, Schumer said, “They think they were, yes, but much smaller than the first.”

The US military spotted and shot down an unidentified aerial object near Alaska’s border with Canada on Friday. (AP Digital Embed)

The government said the first balloon was about the size of three school buses. It was shot down off the coast of South Carolina on February 4 after transiting the United States. The Biden administration said it was used for surveillance. China claims it was on a meteorological research mission.

Schumer said teams would recover debris from the objects and work to determine where they came from. Those shot down on Friday and Saturday were smaller and flying at lower altitudes of about 40,000 feet within the airspace occupied by commercial flights, compared to about 60,000 feet for the first.

“The bottom line is that we didn’t know about these balloons until a few months ago,” Schumer said. “It’s crazy that we didn’t know. … Now they are learning a lot more. And the military and intelligence, like a laser, are focused on first gathering and gathering information, and then making a comprehensive analysis. Senator Schumer says 2 downed objects are believed to be balloons

Dais Johnston

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