June 12th, 2024

RCMP discontinues search for foreign object downed over Yukon

By The Canadian Press on February 18, 2023.

The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police "E" Division Headquarters, in Surrey, B.C., on Friday April 13, 2018. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police say it has decided to end its search for an aerial object show down over central Yukon last Saturday.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

OTTAWA – The RCMP says it has ended its search for an unidentified aerial object shot down over central Yukon last Saturday.

The mounties say they searched the highest probability area but could not find the debris.

The RCMP says it is discontinuing search efforts because snowfalls have made it increasingly unlikely the object will be found and the current belief is it’s “not tied to a scenario that justifies extraordinary search efforts.”

The U.S. military said late Friday it had also ended its search for airborne objects shot down near Deadhorse, Alaska, and over Lake Huron on Feb. 10 and 12, respectively.

The U.S. Northern Command issued a statement saying the decision came after the U.S. and Canada “conducted systematic searches” of the area using a variety of tools but did not locate the debris.

The announcements capped three dramatic weeks that saw U.S. fighter jets shoot down four airborne objects — a large Chinese balloon on Feb. 4 and three much smaller objects about a week later — over Canada and the United States.

It remains unclear why China sent a suspected spy balloon into Canadian and American airspace and what it accomplished. The three smaller objects have also not been identified.

Lt.-Gen. Alain Pelletier, deputy commander of the joint U.S.-Canadian air surveillance and defence command known as Norad, had said officials hoped to retrieve the objects to analyze them and get a better understanding of their capacity and origin.

Federal Defence Minister Anita Anand said last week it was too early to tell whether the “cylindrical object” shot down over central Yukon was from China, but said it was “potentially similar” to the Chinese spy balloon destroyed off the coast of South Carolina on Feb. 4.

– With files from the Associated Press.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 18, 2023.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

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