U.S. fighter jet shoots down "high altitude object" off Alaska coast. Not a balloon, says Pentagon.

The White House today announced that a U.S. Air Force fighter jet shot down an object the "size of a small car" detected entering U.S. airspace over Alaska at 40,000 feet. Its position presented a danger to civilian air traffic, an official told CNN.

The Pentagon said the object appeared to be unmanned and a recovery operation is underway now. The Federal Aviation Administration issued a temporary flight restriction in an area of northern Alaska as the military took action against the object. This incident comes days after the US shot down a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that crossed the country.

The New York Times adds that the object did not appear to have any surveillance equipment on it, was much smaller than the balloon, and that the fighter pilots confirmed it was unmanned before downing it.

Mr. Kirby said that the object was "much, much smaller than the spy balloon that we took down last Saturday" and that "the way it was described to me was roughly the size of a small car, as opposed to the payload that was like two or three buses."