A fighter plane from the United States shot down an unexplained cylindrical object over Canada as part of a cooperative action between the North American neighbours.
Following a week-long controversy over a rumoured Chinese surveillance balloon, the shootdown on Saturday was the second such move in as many days. North America also appeared to be on high alert at the time.
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau declared
Anita Anand, the minister of defence for Canada, refrained from speculating on the object’s origin despite stating that it was small and cylindrical in shape.
She refrained from using the word “balloon,” but said that it was smaller but otherwise comparable to the Chinese balloon that had been shot down a week earlier off the coast of South Carolina.
She said that when it was shot down at 3:41 EST, it was flying at a height of 12,100 metres (40,000 feet) and constituted a threat to civilian air traffic (20:41 GMT).
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According to the Pentagon, the item was found late on Friday night above Alaska by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). As the object entered Canadian airspace, the formation was joined by Canadian CF-18 and CP-140 aircraft while being monitored by US fighter jets from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.
Anand stated at a news conference that there is “no reason to believe that the impact of the item on Canadian territory is of any public concern.”
US and Canadian authorities
In a statement, Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Patrick Ryder claimed that a US F-22 used an AIM 9X missile to shoot down the object on Canadian soil after thorough consultation between US and Canadian authorities.
Following a phone call between Biden and Trudeau, US President Joe Biden gave the go-ahead for the US military to collaborate with Canada to shoot down the high-altitude craft, according to the Pentagon.
The White House released a statement in which it stated that “the leaders emphasised the necessity of recovering the object in order to determine more specifics on its purpose or origin.”
Following the downing of the item at 3:41 PM (2041 GMT), aviation officials also temporarily closed down a portion of the airspace over Montana in the northwest of the United States after spotting a “radar abnormality,” according to the US Northern Command.
US fighter jets
US fighter jets took to the sky, but Northern Command claimed they “could not identify any object to link to the radar hits” in an indication of unease over potential incursions. Then, commercial aviation was permitted to resume in the skies.
An unidentified aircraft object was shot down once more the day before, this time close to Deadhorse, Alaska, by Biden. Despite recovery activities on the Alaskan sea ice underway, the US military on Saturday remained mum about what, if anything, it had discovered.
Aside from the fact that the object was about the size of a compact car, that it was flying at a height of 12,100 metres, that it was immobile, and that it appeared to be unmanned, the Pentagon provided very few data on Friday. Since the item was discovered for the first time on Thursday, US officials have been attempting to learn more about it.
On Saturday, Northern Command indicated that it was currently unaware of any more information regarding the object’s capabilities, purpose, or origin.
It made note of the challenging arctic weather conditions, such as wind chill, snow, and little daylight, which would make it more difficult to conduct search and rescue operations.
Northern Command stated that personnel would modify recovery efforts in order to protect safety.
After travelling across the US and parts of Canada for a week, a US F-22 fighter jet shot down what the US government said a Chinese surveillance balloon off the coast of South Carolina on February 4. It was a research vessel used by the Chinese government, according to that country.
Biden received criticism from some US lawmakers for his delayed downing of the Chinese balloon.
Because of the potential for injuries from falling debris, the US military had advised waiting until it was over the water.
Since the shooting down of the suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that was 60 metres (200 feet) in height, US servicemen have been searching the seas for wreckage and the traces of electronic devices.
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