WASHINGTON/OTTAWA: A US F-22 fighter jet shot down an unidentified object over Canada on Saturday, the second such shootdown in as many days, as North America appeared on heightened alert following a week-long Chinese spying balloon saga that drew the global spotlight. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the shootdown on Twitter and said it took place over the Yukon territory in the country’s north. He said Canadian forces would recover and analyze the wreckage from the object.
Trudeau also said he had spoken with U.S. President Joe Biden about the incident, a day after Biden ordered a shootdown of an unidentified flying object over sea ice near Deadhorse, Alaska.
The U.S. military on Saturday was still tight-lipped about what, if anything, it had learned as recovery efforts were underway.
I spoke with President Biden this afternoon. Canadian Forces will now recover and analyze the wreckage of the object. Thank you to NORAD for keeping the watch over North America.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) February 11, 2023
The Pentagon on Friday offered only a few details, including that the object was the size of a small car, it was flying at about 40,000 feet and could not maneuver and appeared to be unmanned. U.S. officials have been trying to learn about the object since it was first spotted on Thursday.
“We have no further details at this time about the object, including its capabilities, purpose, or origin,” Northern Command said on Saturday.
It noted difficult arctic weather conditions, including wind chill, snow, and limited daylight that hinder search and recovery efforts.
“Personnel will adjust recovery operations to maintain safety,” Northern Command said.
On February 4, a U.S. F-22 fighter jet brought down what the U.S. government called a Chinese surveillance balloon off the coast of South Carolina following its week-long journey across the United States and portions of Canada. China’s government has said it was a civilian research vessel.
Some U.S. lawmakers criticized Biden for not shooting down the Chinese balloon sooner. The U.S. military had recommended waiting until it was over the ocean out of fear of injuries from falling debris.
U.S. officials have been scouring the ocean to recover debris and the undercarriage of electronic gadgetry since the shootdown of the 200-foot-tall (60-meter-high) Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon.
The Pentagon has said a significant amount of the balloon had already been recovered or located, suggesting American officials may soon have more information about any Chinese espionage capabilities aboard the vessel.
Sea conditions on February 10 “permitted dive and underwater unmanned vehicle (UUV) activities and the retrieval of additional debris from the sea floor,” Northern Command said.
“The public may see U.S. Navy vessels moving to and from the site as they conduct offload and resupply activities.”
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