Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali
WASHINGTON – The US military said on Saturday it still could not offer basic details about an unidentified flying object it shot down off Alaska a day earlier, and announced it had spotted yet another high-altitude airborne object, flying over Canada.
US President Joe Biden ordered the shooting-down of the UFO over sea ice near Deadhorse, Alaska on Friday, a day after US pilots first spotted – and tried to identify – the object as it flew into US airspace.
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 (about 12km), could not manoeuvre and appeared to be unmanned.
On Saturday, the US military’s Northern Command suggested little more had been learned about it, even as search and recovery efforts entered their second day.
“We have no further details at this time about the object, including its capabilities, purpose, or origin,” Northern Command said.
It noted difficult Arctic weather conditions, including wind chill, snow, and limited daylight that hinder the search and recovery efforts.
“Personnel will adjust recovery operations to maintain safety,” Northern Command said.
Just minutes after the update on the recovery activities, the US military’s North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad) said it identified a new high-altitude airborne object over northern Canada. Northern Command and Norad are both led by US Air Force General Glen Van Herck.
Norad said military aircraft were operating from Alaska and Canada in support of its activities.
“While we cannot discuss specifics related to these activities at this time, please note that Norad conducts sustained, dispersed operations in the defence of North America through one or all three Norad regions,” it said in a statement.
Norad itself includes both the US and oversees aerospace warning, aerospace control and maritime warning for North America.
Washington is at a heightened state of alert after a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon flew across the US and Canada for a week before it was shot down on February, 4.