Did American fighter jets use a $400,000 Sidewinder missile to shoot down a $12 balloon that was launched by hobbyists last week?
Some people believe that is exactly what happened.
After a Chinese spy balloon was shot down off the coast of South Carolina last week, three more UFOs were also deemed enough of a threat for the United States military to scramble more jets and shoot them down as well.
It turned out, according to President Joe Biden, that none of the other three UFOs “were related to China’s spy balloon program.”
So what were they?
Related: Cockpit Audio From F-16 Pilots Who Shot Down UFO Over Lake Huron Released
Well… according to Aviation Week, “A small, globe-trotting balloon declared “missing in action” by an Illinois-based hobbyist club on Feb. 15 has emerged as a candidate to explain one of the three mystery objects shot down by four heat-seeking missiles launched by U.S. Air Force fighters since Feb. 10.”
The club — the Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade (NIBBB) — is not pointing fingers yet.
But the circumstantial evidence is at least intriguing. The club’s silver-coated, party-style, “pico balloon” reported its last position on Feb. 10 at 38,910 ft. off the west coast of Alaska, and a popular forecasting tool — the HYSPLIT model provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) — projected the cylindrically shaped object would be floating high over the central part of the Yukon Territory on Feb. 11. That is the same day a Lockheed Martin F-22 shot down an unidentified object of a similar description and altitude in the same general area.
New post ('Hobby balloon' shot down: Republicans mock Biden for military operation) has been published on UFO World News – https://t.co/AvJxGovdV2 pic.twitter.com/JFbwAQGmAX
— UFO World News (@ufoworldnews) February 17, 2023
“I tried contacting our military and the FBI — and just got the runaround — to try to enlighten them on what a lot of these things probably are. And they’re going to look not too intelligent to be shooting them down,” says Ron Meadows, the founder of Scientific Balloon Solutions, a company that makes purpose-built pico balloons for hobbyists, educators and scientists.
On Friday, Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council John Kirby was asked if one of the balloons shot down may have been from a hobby club.
He replied that he had seen the report about the hobby club, but could not confirm if their balloon was the one blown up by a Sidewinder missile because they haven’t recovered the debris yet.
A reporter asks about reports that one of the balloons shot down may have been from a hobby club.
John Kirby says he cannot confirm where the balloon is from and "we all have to accept the possibility that we may not be able to recover it" pic.twitter.com/bliSzhy6AM
— Washington Free Beacon (@FreeBeacon) February 17, 2023
Interestingly, as all of this was going on, Navy divers were able finish fishing pieces of the Chinese spy balloon that was shot down off the coast of South Carolina out of the ocean on Thursday.
“Our experts lifted components of the Chinese balloon’s payload off the ocean’s floor,” President Biden said. “We’re analyzing them as I speak and what we learn will strengthen our capabilities.”
The New York Times reports that the recovered debris was sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s laboratory in Quantico, Virginia for further analysis.