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The U.S. military shot down an unidentified object over Canada’s Yukon territory

  • By Emma Bowman and James Doubek/NPR

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he ordered the takedown of an “unidentified object” flying over Canada’s Yukon territory on Saturday.

The object was shot down by a U.S. military fighter jet from the U.S. and Canada’s North American Aerospace Defense Command, Trudeau said.

“I spoke with President Biden this afternoon. Canadian Forces will now recover and analyze the wreckage of the object,” Trudeau said. “Thank you to NORAD for keeping the watch over North America.”

The two leaders approved the takedown of the object “out of an abundance of caution and at the recommendation of their militaries,” the White House said.

Since NORAD detected the object over Alaska on Friday evening, North American officials had closely monitored it as it crossed into Canadian airspace on Saturday, Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a statement. Following the call between President Biden and Trudeau, Biden authorized the F-22 to shoot down the object with a missile in Canadian territory, Ryder said.

Canada’s defense minister, Anita Anand, said the downed object was cylindrical in shape and flying at about 40,000 feet. She said it was downed in central Yukon, about 100 miles from a U.S.-Canada border.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is working with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to identify the object.

Hours later, a “radar anomoly” prompted NORAD to investigate airspace over Havre, Mont. The Federal Aviation Administration said it briefly closed that airspace to support NORAD operations on Saturday evening. A Montana representative and a Montana senator both tweeted about an object in Montana airspace.

But NORAD later said no object was found. Fighter jets “did not identify any object to correlate to the radar hits,” NORAD said in a statement Saturday evening, adding that it will continue to monitor the situation.

The incidents come a day after the U.S. military took down “a high altitude airborne object” off of the northern coast of Alaska, and a week after the military took down a Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina.

Little has been said publicly about the airborne objects

Officials have not provided any details that indicate whether the mysterious objects are related to the Chinese spy balloon.

Recovery crews are working to collect debris from the unknown airborne object sitting on sea ice near Deadhorse, Alaska, after it was taken down on Friday, the U.S. Northern Command said.

The U.S. military and the FBI are continuing attempts to identify and retrieve the remnants of the Chinese spy balloon.

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