Join our brand new verified AMN Telegram channel and get important news uncensored!

US shoots down 4th object over Lake Huron

An F-16 Fighting Falcon flown by Maj. Jacob Schonig from the 416th Flight Test Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base, California, conducts a captive-carry flight test with a Gray Wolf cruise missile prototype over the Pacific Ocean, June 9. (Air Force photo by Ethan Wagner)
February 13, 2023

A U.S. fighter jet shot an “airborne object” out of the sky over Lake Huron Sunday afternoon, marking the third day in a row that unidentified objects have been downed in North American airspace following the flight of the Chinese spy balloon two weeks ago.

The object was flying at about 20,000 feet — the lowest of any object yet — and was taken out by an F-16 fighter pilot at 2:42 p.m., according to a statement from the Defense Department.

Its altitude posed a risk to civilian aircraft, and, like the Chinese spy balloon, the U.S. shot it down over water to keep its debris field from impacting people on the ground, according to the statement.

“We did not assess it to be a kinetic military threat to anything on the ground, but assess it was a safety flight hazard and a threat due to its potential surveillance capabilities,” the statement said.

The object was “octagonal” in shape, with strings hanging off of it and no apparent payload, a senior administration official told CNN. It was first detected about 70 miles north of the U.S.-Canada border around 4:45 p.m. Saturday, NORAD commander Gen. Glen VanHerck said at a press briefing. 

It crossed into American airspace around 6 p.m., but NORAD lost track of the object around sunset. Overnight, another radar detection was made over Montana, VanHerck said. 

A radar track “likely” to be the same detected in Montana was followed over Wisconsin, Lake Michigan, and then across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, VanHerck said. After being shot down about 15 nautical miles east of the Upper Peninsula, VanHerck said the object “potentially most likely landed in Canadian waters in Lake Huron.”

In the wake of the Chinese spy balloon’s nearly week-long flight across the U.S., officials have declassified information about a broader Chinese surveillance program thought to have targeted more than 40 countries. But so far, officials have not confirmed origins, Chinese or otherwise, for objects detected since the balloon.

The U.S. has been “more closely scrutinizing our airspace at these altitudes … which may at least partly explain the increase in objects that we’ve detected,” said Melissa Dalton, assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and hemispheric affairs, at the press briefing.

Objects since the balloon haven’t posed military threats, but their “proximity to sensitive DOD sites” and low altitudes make them concerning, Dalton said.

This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.