With concerns intensifying due to the recent plethora of high altitude objects flying over Canadian and U.S. airspace, Canadian officials sat down with the media to answer questions and reassure the public.
After a Chinese surveillance balloon was spotted and subsequently shot down on Feb. 4, a number of other unidentified objects have been shot down over the last week.
“Over the past two weeks, the North American Defence Command, a Canada-US binational military command, has detected, tracked, monitored and positively identified four airborne objects in the United States and Canadian airspace. The first object was officially characterized as a high-altitude surveillance balloon and attributed to the People’s Republic of China. The subsequent three cannot be officially characterized or attributed at this time. Recovery operations are ongoing,” said MGen. Paul Prevost, director of strategic joint staff, on Monday’s press conference.
Four Objects Shot Down in a Fortnight
The second flying object was shot down over Alaska on Feb. 10, another object was shot down over Yukon airspace on Feb. 11, and then a final object was shot down on Feb. 12 over Lake Huron.
The U.S. and Canada worked together to track and shoot down these objects under the umbrella of NORAD.
“These unprecedented activities have underscored how important our binational military command continues to be and how important it is that NORAD continue to evolve to meet the changing threat environment. We are committed in keeping Canadians and Americans safe, and we will remain in contact with our U.S. partners to ensure binational response to all the situations where a coordinated approach is required,” said Prevost.
Recovering Ongoing in Yukon
In Yukon, search efforts are ongoing to retrieve the object. The Canadian Special Forces Command and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are leading search efforts. The search area mentioned Prevost is vast, covering nearly 3,000 square kilometres.
The recovery efforts are also marred by stringent weather conditions.
“The weather conditions are not great; there’s a very high level of snowpack in the region, so, so our efforts are going to be difficult. It will be challenging. They will take us some time,” said Sean McGillis, acting Deputy Commissioner Federal Policing Program RCMP.
Air assets are being used to assist in recovery.
Questions continue to arise over the nature of the objects and their intent. However, both MGen. Prevost and McGillis say it is still premature to speak about them in any way.
“We have our members on site in the Yukon and are beginning to deploy, but I think it would be premature at this point to speculate as, as to what the device looked like, what it contained, and what some of the concerns could be until we have a chance to actually locate it and exploit some of the information that could be contained therein,” said McGillis.
Addressing the public on Thursday Fab. 16, 2023, President Joe Biden said the three unidentified flying objects shot down last weekend over North American airspace were “most likely” balloons tied to research companies or private companies.
Other questions still remain unanswered as investigations are ongoing.