The Pentagon has confirmed that US fighter jets shot down an unknown object flying near the Canadian border in the Midwest. This is the latest occurrence after the detection of a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon put North American security forces on high alert.
Unidentified Octagonal Object Under Investigation
In a statement from Pentagon spokesperson Patrick Ryder, the unidentified object was at an altitude of 6,100 meters (20,000ft). While it did not present a military danger, it could have disrupted domestic air traffic.
Based on the information released, the object brought down over Lake Huron was in the form of an octagonal structure and had strings connected to it, but there was no noticeable payload.
At present, there is no report about its surveillance capabilities, but this remains under investigation.
“And what a senior administration official described is that it had an octagonal shape and there were strings hanging from it, but with no discernible payload.” pic.twitter.com/7CxrNLdNzK
— Acyn (@Acyn) February 12, 2023
The Pentagon reported the debris landed in Canadian waters; both Canadian and US teams are collaborating to retrieve it.
The statement indicated that the object was taken down at 2:42 PM local time over Lake Huron, which is located on the US-Canada border. This was the third object to be shot down in North America within three days and the fourth in just over a week.
The recent surge in defensive actions started in late January when a white balloon was spotted hovering over the US for several days.
The US declared it to be a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon; on February 4, fighter jets took it down near the coast of South Carolina.
Object Detected in Proximity to Sensitive Military Sites
The Pentagon reported the object was detected over Montana in proximity to sensitive military sites, leading to the closure of US airspace.
General Glen VanHerck, who serves as the head of the US Air Force and is responsible for safeguarding US airspace, informed journalists the military was yet to determine the nature, source, and means of propulsion of the three recent unidentified objects.
— North American Aerospace Defense Command (@NORADCommand) February 12, 2023
“We’re not jumping to any conclusions,” VanHerck stated. “We’re keeping an open mind and examining all possibilities.”
The general emphasized the importance of thoroughly investigating the objects and determining their origin before making any conclusions.
Kentucky Representative James Comer, a Republican, expressed his concern over the shooting down of the balloon in the Atlantic, which had flown over military bases, including his own at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
He stated the situation was alarming. He expressed relief that the administration was taking the matter of the balloons more seriously. However, he also emphasized the bigger issue at hand was China, not just the spy balloons.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, however, defended the actions of the Biden administration in handling the situation.
He stated they would likely be able to piece together the whole surveillance balloon and have a clear understanding of what was happening, which he considered to be a huge win for the United States.