U.S. Shoots Down a Fourth Flying Object

WASHINGTON — The United States shot down a fourth flying object over North America on Sunday, this one over Lake Huron in Michigan, U.S. officials said.

The Pentagon used an F-16 fighter jet that shot the object with a Sidewinder air-to-air missile. This object was unidentified, as was an object shot down over the Yukon Territory in Canada on Saturday and another shot down over the Arctic Ocean near Alaska on Friday.

The episodes began on Feb. 4, when the U.S. military shot down a Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina.

The latest turn in the aerial show taking place in the skies above North America comes after a helter-skelter weekend involving what at times seemed like an invasion of unidentified flying objects.

The incursions seemed to become so common that Biden administration officials have found themselves issuing private assurances that there is no evidence that they involve extraterrestrial activity. But officials also acknowledge privately that the longer they are unable to provide a public explanation for the provenance of the objects, the more speculation grows.

On Friday, after tracking an unidentified object 40,000 feet in the air across Alaska and into a fairly congested air traffic route for commercial flights between the United States and Asia, the United States shot down the object. It used the same type of airplane (an F-22) and weaponry (a Sidewinder air-to-air missile) that was used to shoot down a Chinese spy balloon a week earlier.

But soon after recovery teams began the effort to locate and identify the debris in the Prudhoe Bay area, NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, which is operated by the United States and Canada, began tracking a second unidentified object. This one moved across Alaska on Friday night and crossed into Canada on Saturday before it was shot down by an American fighter jet over the Yukon Territory.

The second object, Canadian authorities said, was cylindrical. The first object, American officials said, was the size of a small car, though one official said it was also cylindrical.

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