The unidentified airborne object shot out of the sky by US military jets over Canada on Saturday was reportedly a small, metallic balloon with a tethered payload.
Pentagon officials said the object was detected over Alaska late Friday and was closely tracked by US and Canadian military aircraft as it crossed into Canadian airspace before it was taken down over the Yukon Territory by an American F-22 fighter jet around 3:41 p.m. ET.
Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand told reporters that the object, which was flying at an altitude of 40,000 feet, “appears to be a small, cylindrical object and smaller than the one that was downed off the coast of [South] Carolina” on Feb. 4.
No additional details about the object were immediately available, however Anand added that “there is no reason to believe that the impact of the object in Canadian territory is of any public concern.”
US officials familiar with the situation told the Wall Street Journal that the object appeared to be a small, metallic balloon with a tethered payload.
A NORAD spokesman, Maj. Olivier Gallant, said the military has determined what it was but would not reveal details.
Anand said that recovery operations for the object were still underway by the Canadian Armed Forces in conjunction with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Hours after the object was shot down, the FAA shut down airspace over Montana after NORAD responded to a “radar anomaly,” but said no “object” was observed.
F-22 fighter jets have now taken out three objects in the airspace above the U.S. and Canada over the past week — an unnerving development that is raising questions on just what, exactly, is hovering overhead and where they came from.
Recovery efforts are also still underway in Alaska after another high-altitude object was shot down over the waters off Alaska on Friday afternoon.
That object, which was also flying around 40,000 feet, “posed a reasonable threat to the safety of civilian flight,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters during a White House briefing.
Kirby said that object was also much smaller than the surveillance balloon shot down last Friday — “roughly the size of a small car.”
It also did not appear to have the same “maneuverable capability” and as the spy balloon moving “virtually at the whim of the wind.”
A massive, white Chinese spy balloon after it flew across the entire North American continent from Montana to South Carolina, where it was destroyed last Friday.
The balloon was part of a large surveillance program that China has been conducting for “several years,” the Pentagon has said.
It’s not clear if the other objects shot down were Chinese.
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