‘No indication of aliens’: Purpose of unidentified objects shot down over Canada, U.S. still unclear
Posted February 13, 2023 2:11 pm.
Last Updated February 13, 2023 2:39 pm.
Efforts are underway to figure out what the latest “unidentified objects” downed over parts of the U.S. and Canada were doing before they were shot by government forces.
In just eight days, four such objects were shot down by U.S. jets, the latest of them on Sunday over Lake Huron.
The first was a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina earlier this month. While there’s been much speculation about the purpose of the other three, nothing concrete has been identified. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre affirmed Monday, however, that there was “no indication of aliens or extraterrestrial activity with these recent takedowns.”
“In light of the Chinese balloon program and this recent incursion into our air space, the United States and Canada, through NORAD, have been more closely scrutinizing that air space, including enhancing our radar capabilities which … may partially explain the increase in the objects that have been detected,” Admiral John Kirby with the U.S. National Security Council explained.
“Slow-moving objects at high altitude with a small radar cross section are difficult to detect on radar. Even objects the size of the Chinese spy balloon, which had a payload the size of roughly three school buses were not picked up by previous administrations or other countries. We also know that a range of entities including countries, companies, research, and academic organizations, operate objects at these altitudes for purposes that are not nefarious at all, including scientific research. That said, because we have not yet been able to definitively assess what these most recent objects are, we acted out of an abundance of caution to protect the security, our security, our interests, and flight safety.”
Kirby says action over the weekend was taken after consultation between the U.S. president and Canadian prime minister. He adds the most recent objects were not assessed to have posed any “direct threat to people on the ground,” and that work is underway to confirm what purpose they held.
With the three latest objects, Kirby says while no communications signals were detected, their altitudes were “considerably lower than the Chinese high-altitude balloon and did pose a threat to civilian/commercial air traffic.”
Kirby says the objects shot down Friday and Saturday were at roughly 40,000 feet, while the third on Sunday was at about 20,000 feet.
Depending on weather, trans-continental air traffic is at about 30,000 feet, he told reporters.
“Because we assessed that they weren’t manned and weren’t being controlled, therefore left to atmospheric conditions, the real risk to safety of flight was a problem,” he explained.
“While we had no specific reason to suspect that they were conducting surveillance of any kind, we couldn’t rule that out,” Kirby added.
Kirby’s comments came shortly after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the matter. Trudeau assured Canadians that surveillance measures through NORAD are working as they should.
“We are ensuring that we’re monitoring together the air space. NORAD is one of the only joint commands for territorial defence in the world. Canadians and Americans are in joint command for protection of our territories, so as it’s picked up over Alaska by NORAD, we are part of tracking that in Canada as well,” he said, noting he spoke with U.S. President Joe Biden Saturday.
An object shot down Saturday over the Yukon was described by U.S. officials as a balloon significantly smaller than the balloon — the size of three school buses — hit by a missile Feb. 4. A flying object brought down over the remote northern coast of Alaska on Friday was more cylindrical and described as a type of airship.
Trudeau says his government is “deploying all measures possible to keep Canadians safe,” adding concerns from officials and the public in the Canadian territory are also being addressed.
The search for debris continues.
“I think obviously there is some sort of pattern in there. The fact that we are seeing this in a significant degree over the past week is a cause for interest and close attention, which is exactly what we’re doing,” Trudeau said of the recent objects.
-With files from The Associated Press