The United States Department of Defense (DoD) is tracking a second high-altitude balloon that has crossed Hawaii and is headed for Mexico.
According to a spokesman for the DoD, the Department and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) spotted and tracked an unmanned balloon hovering at about 36,000 feet off the coast of Hawaii on Friday (April 28).
When the balloon crossed United States airspace over Hawaii, it did not hover over critical defense infrastructure or other sensitive U.S. government sites, the spokesman noted, explaining the balloon did not threaten the military or people on the ground.
The spokesman relayed that despite the balloon flying at civil aviation altitude, it did not threaten civil aviation over Hawaii.
The statement continues that the observations about the balloon, the Secretary of Defense agreed with the “recommendation of his military commanders” to not take action against the balloon.
The balloon has since moved out of Hawaiian airspace, with the Department of Defense saying it continues to monitor the balloon’s movements alongside the FAA.
In early February, a Chinese surveillance balloon was spotted over Montana. The balloon traveled across the continental United States before the Biden administration ordered the spy ship to be shot out of the sky off the coast of South Carolina.
Chinese officials said the balloon was a drifting civilian vessel, but U.S. officials asserted it was a surveillance vessel. In a report released in early April, several current and former U.S. officials alleged that the Biden administration sought to prevent intelligence gathering by China’s spy balloon, which ultimately provided information about the U.S.’s defense infrastructure to Beijing in real-time.