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Item believed to be large balloon discovered by fishermen off Alaskan coast

U.S. officials: China's spy balloon sought communications
China's spy balloon sought to intercept communications, U.S. officials say 02:22

Fishermen have recovered what appears to be "a pretty big balloon" off the coast of Alaska, a U.S. official confirmed to CBS News on Friday.

The balloon is being brought into port for examination, the official said, adding that photographs of the object are being examined, but it will not be possible to determine exactly what it is until it arrives in port.  

The official stressed that the balloon was not shot down by the U.S. military.

The exact location of where the balloon was found, and the circumstances of its discovery were not provided.

In January 2023, a suspected high-altitude Chinese spy balloon was spotted floating over the U.S. before it was shot down off the coast of South Carolina by a U.S. fighter jet. The balloon had high-tech equipment that could collect communications signals and other sensitive information, according to government officials.

China, however, alleged that the balloon was simply a weather research satellite that had blown off course. 

Fighter jets shot down several unidentified objects over the U.S. and Canada over the following weeks.

Late last month, North American Aerospace Defense Command revealed that it was tracking another high-altitude balloon over the Western U.S. A day later, NORAD reported that the object was determined to be a hobbyist balloon and posed no threat to national security.

David Martin, Eleanor Watson and Caitlin Yilek contributed to this report. 

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