One of the UFOs shot down last weekend by the US Air Force with a $400,000 missile may have simply been a $12 balloon belonging to an Illinois enthusiast club, a report said.
The Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade told Aviation Week on Thursday that it fears one of its diligently tracked gasbags that recently went missing was the mystery object taken out by the military over Canada on Saturday.
The Pico Balloon — a silver-coated, cylindrically shaped object — reported its last position at 38,910 feet off the west coast of Alaska on Friday.
By Saturday, based on the balloon’s projected path, it would have been over the central part of the Yukon Territory around the same time a military Lockheed Martin F-22 shot down an unidentified object of a similar description and altitude in the same area of Canada, the outlet reported.
The NIBBB — a group of enthusiasts dedicated to creating, releasing and tracking homemade balloons — declared its K9YO device “missing in action” on Saturday.
The K9YO balloon had circumnavigated the globe six times during a 123-day span before its tracking device went dark Friday. Such balloons usually float around until they’re brought down by bad weather or damaged.
The NIBBB’s balloon was equipped with a small GPS transmitter and an antenna, allowing the group to track it with a ham radio.
The Air Force used Sidewinder missiles in its targeted attacks against the Chinese spy balloon downed earlier this month and the mystery UFOs taken down last week, Fortune reported. Each missile comes at a price tag of roughly $400,000.
Pico Balloons, however, typically fall between $12 and $180 each depending on the type, Aviation Week reported.
The US downed airborne objects over Alaska on Friday and Lake Huron on Sunday, in addition to Saturday’s takedown.
On Thursday, President Biden finally addressed the unprecedented military action in North American airspace after five days of silence and told Americans there was no evidence that the three unidentified flying objects were nefarious.
“We don’t yet know exactly what these three objects were,” Biden said, echoing remarks by other administration officials.
The Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade.
The Air Force uses $400,000 Sidewinder missiles in its targeted attacks against suspected Chinese spy balloons and UFOs.
So far, the US military has only found debris from the Chinese spy balloon shot down off the coast of North Carolina on Feb. 4. The object — with a payload the size of three school buses — was equipped with antennas capable of collecting communications signals and other intelligence-gathering tools.
Biden did say Thursday, “I expect to be speaking with [Chinese] President Xi [Jinping]” about the spy-balloon incident — without saying exactly when and while repeating his well-worn call for “competition, not conflict” with China.
“I gave the order to shoot it down as soon as it would be safe to do so,” Biden said of the surveillance balloon shot down.
White House officials admitted this week that “hundreds, if not thousands” of objects in the sky — including the UFOs it shot down last week — could be as innocuous as “used car lot balloons.”
The North American Aerospace Defense Command told Fox News that the FBI reached out to the NIBBB and “expects the National Security Council to have more on potentially identifying the objects.”
The NIBBB did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.