February 12, 2023 By The Canadian Press
The U.S. military has shot four flying objects out of the sky in the month of February. Most of the objects have yet to be identified, and the repeated incursions into both American and Canadian airspace are raising questions about global security and China’s suspected involvement.
Here’s a list of the objects discovered so far:
Feb. 4 — United States fighter jets shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina.
A Pentagon official described the object as a manoeuvrable surveillance balloon flying at an altitude of about 18,288 metres, with a “payload” or basket underneath.
In a statement released hours after the balloon was shot down, Defence Minister Anita Anand said the balloon “violated U.S. and Canadian airspace and international law.”
The Chinese government has maintained the balloon was a civilian craft intended for meteorological research that was blown off course by winds.
U.S. officials have said the balloon was the size of three school buses and weighed about 450 kilograms.
Feb. 10 — U.S. fighter jets shot down an unknown object flying off the northern coast of Alaska.
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the object was downed because it was flying at about 13,000 meters and posed a “reasonable threat” to the safety of civilian flights.
Kirby described the object as roughly the size of a small car.
On Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said it’s believed the object was a balloon.
Feb. 11 — A U.S. fighter jet shot down an object flying at high-altitude over the Yukon on the orders of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The North American Aerospace Defence Command, the joint U.S.–Canadian air surveillance and defence organization, first confirmed the object’s presence over northern Canada in a statement late Saturday afternoon, saying military aircraft had been scrambled to intercept it.
A short time later, Trudeau announced on Twitter that it had been taken down by an American fighter jet.
Anand described the object as “cylindrical” and “potentially similar” to the Chinese balloon shot down the week before.
She said the object was flying at about 12,000 metres and was located around 160 kilometres from the border with Alaska when it was shot down.
At the same news conference, chief of the defence staff Gen. Wayne Eyre referred to the object as a “balloon.”
Feb. 12 — U.S. officials said the military shot down a fourth “unidentified object,” this time closer to heavily populated areas in southern Ontario and the U.S. east coast.
NORAD said it had closed airspace over Lake Michigan temporarily around noon EST Sunday to protect civilian planes during unspecified “operations.” They did not explain further.
Anand said in a statement that the object was “detected in U.S. airspace over Lake Huron. NORAD launched Canadian and U.S. aircraft to investigate and the object was taken down in U.S. airspace by U.S. aircraft. We unequivocally support this action,” she wrote.
with files from Mia Rabson, Lee Berthiaume and The Associated Press.