Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Wayne Eyre said the flying object the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) shot down over Yukon Saturday is believed to have been a balloon, and the remote area where the debris landed is making recovery efforts difficult.
“In Yukon, efforts to locate and recover what we can now characterize as a suspected balloon are particularly challenging in the remote, mountainous area with deep snow, risk of avalanche, and harsh weather conditions,” Eyre said in a tweet Wednesday.
The suspected balloon is one of four mysterious objects which have been shot down over North America this month.
The Chinese government has said that the first object, which American fighter jets shot down on Feb. 4, was a weather balloon which blew off course. American officials have said that Beijing used the balloon for surveillance. NORAD shot down the most recent object over Lake Huron on Sunday.
Prior to Eyre’s tweet, Canadian and American officials had not commented on the specific nature of the object that flew over Yukon.
Officials said they suspect the debris landed east of Dawson City. Yukon Premier Ranj Pillai said Monday the debris has landed in “rugged” territory that would be difficult for recovery teams to traverse.
1/ Recent events have underscored the importance of our binational <a href=”https://twitter.com/NORADCommand?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@NORADCommand</a> in keeping Canadians and Americans safe. Simply put, our response to these unprecedented events unfolded exactly as we have trained and as NORAD is designed to operate.
Eyre said that Canadian Armed Forces personnel are working with the RCMP on locating debris from the Yukon and Lake Huron objects, and that the RCMP is leading the effort.
While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the objects may be linked, Defence Minister Anita Anand said Tuesday it’s too early to draw any connection between them.
Eyre, who recently voiced concerns about the readiness of Canada’s military, said the response to the objects has highlighted NORAD’s effectiveness.
“Recent events have underscored the importance of our binational @NORADCommand in keeping Canadians and Americans safe,” he said in a tweet.
“Simply put, our response to these unprecedented events unfolded exactly as we have trained and as NORAD is designed to operate.”