LONDON – A USAF F-16 has shot down an aerial object over Lake Huron in Michigan, in what has become the third takedown of an unidentified object in North American airspace in as many days.
The three incidents in question, which took place Friday, Saturday and Sunday over Alaska, Yukon Canada and Michigan respectively have raised multiple questions.
In the latest incident, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a temporary closure of a portion of airspace over the northern part of Lake Michigan.
A NOTAM for the area cited “Active Air Defense Operation” as the reason for the temporary airspace restriction.
US Representative Elissa Slotkin issued the statement: “Just got a call from the Dept of Defense – our military has an extremely close eye on the object above Lake Huron.”
“We’ll know more about what this was in the coming days, but for now, be assured that all parties have been laser-focused on it from the moment it traversed our waters.”
It was suspected that the object shot down over Michigan was the same object which raised an alert on Saturday in Montana, resulting in the temporary closure of airspace in a region near the Canadian border.
The object then appeared to have traversed Wisconsin before appearing in Michigan. Described as being octagonal in shape, the object was tracked as it traversed airspace in the Great Lakes region at approximately 20,000 feet, making it a risk to commercial air traffic.
It was subsequently shot down over Lake Huron by an F-16 of the USAF 148th Fighter Wing.
A US KC-135 Stratotanker, AWACS E-3 Sentry aircraft, and several F-16s have all been confirmed as operating over the Great Lakes area.
According to a statement issued by North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD), the F-16 shot down the object with an AIM9X air to air missile at approximately 2:42 PM ET on Sunday, February 12, following approval from President Joe Biden.
Based upon its flight path data and trajectory. NORAD stated that it was the object which was picked up by radar in Montana the day before.
Subsequently, Representative Jack Bergman of Michigan stated that that the US military had “decommissioned” an “unidentified flying object” over Lake Huron.
Recovery operations have been underway to retrieve debris from the three takedowns in Alaska, Yukon Canada and Michigan. US officials are yet to release any official statement as to what the objects are, their purpose, and the origins.
Reports from each of the three incidents have confirmed that the aerial objects differ to the Chinese balloon which was tracked across the contiguous United States and finally shot down of the Carolinas on February 8.
It is not yet clear whether the recent spate of incidents is indicative of an increase in aerial phenomena, or simply whether the US administration has taken a more proactive stance in intercepting and removing them.
Update Monday 13 Feb 15:50 UTC:
Authorities are still attempting to recover debris from the object shot down over Lake Huron yesterday. A US Coast Guard HC-130J Super Hercules is currently on site flying a search pattern grid at low altitude.