In an interview on Sunday, a senior U.S. official revealed that the “object” the United States shot down above Canada was a “small metallic balloon” carrying a payload.
U.S. officials have described the object as a “small metallic balloon with a connected payload,” according to a Fox report. Details about the object were limited throughout the weekend. On Saturday, President Biden and Prime Minister Trudeau gave the order to shoot down the object.
Another description of the craft’s cargo calls it “cylindrical.” By the time it was shot down, U.S. and allied forces had been following the device for over a day.
The United States and Canada maintain that the craft’s origin is unclear, but efforts are underway to retrieve wreckage from the vehicle.
In the hours following the Saturday operation, the White House released a transcript of a call between Vice President Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
President Biden and Prime Minister Trudeau “allowed it to be taken down out of an abundance of caution and at the recommendation of respective militaries,” according to the readout. In close consultation with Canadian officials, a US F-22 shot down the object in Canadian territory after President Biden gave permission for US fighter aircraft assigned to NORAD to perform the operation.
The aircraft was the third one shot down by U.S. forces over North America in the past week. Off the coast of South Carolina, Biden initially had an F-22 intercept a Chinese spy plane. Yet another unidentified flying object was shot down above the icy ocean separating Alaska and Canada.
The United States and Canada have begun the process of retrieving wreckage from all three aircraft. However, only the one that was destroyed off the East Coast of the United States is believed to have originated in China.