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Flying object over Lake Huron shot down. What we know and what we don’t?

lake huron
  • Another unidentified object was found flying over the U.S. on Sunday, this one was shot down over Lake Huron 
  • It was the fourth flying object shot out of the sky this month in the U.S. and Canada 
  • The first object shot down was a balloon from China, U.S. officials said
  • “No Indication” of extraterrestrial activity, says White House

While some Michiganders may have been doing some last-minute grocery  shopping and preparing for Super Bowl parties on Sunday, the U.S. was tracking down an object flying over the Great Lakes state. 

A U.S. F-16 fighter jet shot down another unidentified object, this time flying over Lake Huron, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. The object was reported to be flying about 20,000 feet above the lake waters, which could potentially be threatening for commercial flights.  

“These most recent objects do not pose a kinetic military threat, but their path in proximity to sensitive DOD sites and the altitude that they were flying could be a hazard to civilian aviation and thus raised concerns,” said Melissa Dalton, assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and hemispheric affairs, during a media briefing on Sunday. 


President Biden ordered the object to be taken down at 2:42 p.m. Sunday. Officials determined that it was likely the same object that was found flying over Montana one day earlier, which raised concerns because it flew so close to Department of Defense sites, the department confirmed in a statement. 

During a White House media briefing Monday afternoon, White House Spokesman John Kirby said that it was shot down over Lake Huron and landed in “what we believe to be the Canadian side of the lake.”

“So we were obviously in constant communication and consultation with our Canadian counterparts.” He added: “In concert with U.S. Coast Guard, they are also involved in trying to locate the debris right now.”

Sunday’s event marked the fourth object the U.S. has shot down this month, the others were in South Carolina, Alaska and Canada.

“The increasing incidents of unidentified objects, the latest over Lake Huron in Michigan airspace, are disturbing,” U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Ann Arbor) said in a press release. ”We need the facts about where they are originating from, what their purpose is, and why their frequency is increasing.” 

“I applaud our US Air Force and Wisconsin National Guard for their swift action, but we must not wait until these objects are over America’s heartland before we act,” Rep. John James, a Republican who represents Macomb County, said in a press release.  “The People deserve the truth and this cannot happen again.”

What we know 

The object shot down over Lake Huron was flying much lower than previous objects. The object that was shot down in Canada was flying at an altitude of 40,000, a spokesperson for the National Security Council said, twice the altitude of the Lake Huron object. 

According to the Pilot Institute, a training center, commercial airplanes typically fly at an altitude of 36,000 feet, and no higher than 42,000 feet.  Private planes can only fly at an altitude of about 10,000 feet or lower. 

The object over Lake Huron was octagonal in shape with strings hanging off it, but more information would not be found until the debris is collected, a senior administration official told CNN.  However, the wind along the lake could make that difficult. The National Weather Service reported that there were winds at 30 knots and waves building up to six and nine feet Monday afternoon. 

More significantly, Kirby, the White House spokesperson, said the object shot down over Lake Huron "now lies in what is probably very deep water." 

What we don’t know 

The origin of the object is unclear. Officials are still trying to determine if the objects shot down in recent days came from the People’s Republic of China, which is where a balloon shot down earlier this month came from.  

“Because we have not yet been able to definitively assess what these recent objects are, we have acted out of an abundance of caution to protect our security and interests,” Dalton said. 

When asked if it could be extraterrestrial during a press conference Sunday, Gen. Glen VanHerck, the commander of the Air Force’s Northern Command,  said he hasn’t ruled out anything and will continue to assess and attempt to identify every threat that approaches North America.

But the White House was more definitive on Monday. 

"There is no — again, no —indication of alien or extraterrestrial activity with these recent takedowns," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at a media briefing Monday afternoon. 

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