Another unidentified aerial object was shot down by an F-16 fighter jet near the US-Canada maritime border in Lake Huron, the third unknown object and fourth overall to be destroyed in the past week.
The US F-22 intercepted one unidentified flying object over Alaska on Friday, then another over northern Canada on Saturday.
However, national security authorities across the continent remain on alert despite the lack of evidence linking the mystery items to the Chinese surveillance balloon.
On Sunday, Michigan Democrat Elissa Slotkin said that the operation to shoot down the object was carried out by US Air Force and National Guard pilots in the area of Lake Huron.
Based on information from sources and a public tweet from Republican Rep. Jack Bergman of Michigan, CNN initially claimed that the item was shot down over Lake Huron.
The object was first detected by the North American Aerospace Defense Command and US Northern Command over Montana late Saturday, and fighter jets were dispatched to investigate, a senior administration official said to CNN.
At the time, those aircraft did not identify any objects that could be correlated with the radar hits, leading NORAD and NORTHCOM to believe this was an anomaly.
But on Sunday, defense officials re-established radar contact and detected the object hovering over Wisconsin and Michigan. The object’s direction and altitude sparked fears that it could threaten commercial aircraft, but the official stated that it posed no military threat to anyone on the ground. President Joe Biden ordered the object’s destruction.
Description of the objects
A US official stated on Sunday that the Biden administration was wary of the pilots’ reports of the unexplained objects shot down over Alaska and Canada due to the conditions in which they were sighted before the object was shot down near Lake Huron.
A representative for the National Security Council said, “These items did not seem particularly similar and were considerably smaller than the PRC balloon, and we will not characterize them completely until we can recover the wreckage, which we are working on.”
Sabrina Singh, the Pentagon’s deputy press secretary, made a similar distinction earlier on Sunday.
“Those things that were fired down on Friday and Saturday were not PRC balloons but rather random objects. We hope to have additional details for you after we’ve been able to locate and identify the remains “that’s what she said on Sunday, she said.
After being informed by White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told ABC News on Sunday morning that the object shot down over Canada was likely another balloon, similar to the high-altitude device shot down over Alaska on Friday.
On Saturday, Canadian Defense Chief of Staff Gen. Wayne Eyre also mentioned a “balloon” when describing the instructions given to the team that worked on shooting down the object.
A cylindrical object
The Pentagon’s spokesperson, Brigadier General Patrick Ryder, said in a statement that the military has been tracking the UFO that was shot down above Canadian territory since Friday night.
NORAD detected the object, and two F-22 fighter jets from Joint Base Elemendorf-Richardson, Alaska, were dispatched to monitor the object with assistance from the Alaska Air National Guard.
Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand stated at a press conference on Saturday that it seems to be a “cylindrical object” smaller than the Chinese surveillance balloon that was shot down earlier.
“Surveillance continued today as the object crossed Canadian airspace, with Canadian CF-18 and CP-140 aircraft joining the formation to further assess the object,” Ryder said.
Eyre said Saturday that “the instructions given to the team were that whoever had the best aim to shoot down the balloon should go ahead.”
Both US President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau approved the shootdown on Saturday, according to a White House statement.
“President Biden authorized US warplanes assigned to NORAD to carry out the operation, and a US F-22 shot down the object on Canadian territory in close coordination with Canadian authorities,” the White House statement said. “Leaders discussed the importance of recovering the object from determining more details about its purpose or origin.”
“The object was flying at an altitude of approximately 40,000 feet, had illegally entered Canadian airspace, and posed a reasonable threat to the safety of civilian flights. The object was shot down about 100 miles from the Canada-United States border, over Canadian territory in central Yukon,” he stated.
Ryder’s statement notes that while Canadian authorities carry out recovery operations, the FBI “will work closely with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.”
The pilots gave different versions of what they observed after approaching the object, an informed source told CNN; some pilots said it “interfered with their sensors,” but other pilots said they didn’t experience that.