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US jet shoots down another mystery ‘object’ over Canada

A US fighter jet shot down an unidentified object over Canada on Saturday, the second such incident in North American skies since the dramatic downing of a suspected Chinese spy balloon a week ago.

Shortly after the 3:41 pm (2041 GMT) downing of the object, aviation authorities shut down part of the airspace over the northwest US state of Montana after detecting what they called a “radar anomaly,” the US Northern Command said.

Trudeau said Canadian forces in the Yukon “will now recover and analyze the wreckage of the object.”

He said he spoke with US President Joe Biden over the latest incursion, while Anand also said she spoke with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

The new incursions into Alaska and the Yukon came after the United States said Wednesday that suspected Chinese spy balloons like the one it shot down February 4 were part of a “fleet” that has spanned five continents. NATO also voiced concern.

Anand, however, said “it would not be prudent for me to speculate on the origins of the object at this time.”

US and Canadian planes flew together to take on the object Saturday, the US Department of Defense and Anand said.

The White House said Biden and Trudeau spoke Saturday, and “commended NORAD’s and US Northern Command’s strong and effective partnership and agreed to continue their close coordination to detect, track, and defend our airspace.”

The object taken out over the Yukon, which borders Alaska, came after fighter jets downed another object Friday off the US state’s north coast near the village of Deadhorse.

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Search and recovery operations for the remains of that object continued Saturday but were hindered by Arctic “wind chill, snow, and limited daylight,” Northern Command said in a statement.

“Recovery activities are occurring on sea ice,” it said, adding that the Pentagon could offer “no further details… about the object, including its capabilities, purpose, or origin.”

Diplomatic riff
A giant balloon carrying electronics — which the Pentagon described as a spy vessel — flew over Canada and the United States last month, sparking a diplomatic flare-up with China, which acknowledged ownership of what it said was a harmless weather balloon blown off course.

That balloon crossed into US airspace in Alaska on January 28, traversing Canada and much of the United States — and prompting the scrapping of a rare trip to Beijing by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken — before it was shot down over the Atlantic Ocean off South Carolina on February 4.

Federal recovery teams, comprising both divers and unmanned remote-control minisubs, continue to survey for debris of the balloon in shallow coastal waters, the Northern Command statement said.

US officials say images of the balloon show it had surveillance equipment that could intercept telecommunications as well as a solar array to power multiple sensors.