Balloons And UFOs: Here’s What’s Happened, And What We Know
Chinese spy balloon flies above in Charlotte NC, United States on February 04, 2023. The Pentagon announced earlier that it is tracking a suspected Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon above the continental US.
(Photo by Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

New UFO sightings appear to be popping up all around the United States over the past few days.

In the week since the U.S. military shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina, officials say at least three other strange flying objects have been blasted out of the sky, and there have been multiple additional incidents leading to temporary restrictions in pockets of sky around the Midwest.

In the most recent development, a U.S. F-16 fighter jet shot down a UFO over Lake Huron on Sunday, according to officials. The Defense Department (DOD) said in a statement that President Joe Biden ordered the strike on the recommendation of military leadership after detecting an “airborne object flying at approximately 20,000 feet altitude in U.S. airspace” over the lake, a location chosen for its low impact on people below and the improved odds for debris recovery.

The DOD statement said the object was detected Sunday morning and its altitude raised concerns, “including that it could be a hazard to civilian aviation.” The object “flew in proximity to sensitive DOD sights” and had “potential surveillance capabilities” but likely no “kinetic military threat” the DOD said. A recovery operation is now expected to take place. Officials said there were no indications of civilians being hurt.

“Today, a high-altitude object was detected in U.S. airspace over Lake Huron. NORAD launched Canadian and U.S. aircraft to investigate and the object was taken down in U.S. airspace by U.S. aircraft. We unequivocally support this action,” tweeted Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand. “We will continue to work with the U.S. and NORAD to protect North America.”

Gen. Glen VanHerck, commander of U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), was asked Sunday whether the objects being shot out of the sky could be “aliens or extraterrestrials” during a briefing with reporters.

The general said he would leave it to the intelligence community and counterintelligence community to make a determination. “I haven’t ruled out anything at this point,” VanHerck added.

The general also said he would not categorize the objects that have been shot down since Friday as balloons. “We’re calling them objects for a reason,” VanHerck said, adding that he was not able to “categorize” how these vessels could stay aloft.

Hours earlier, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos he discussed the situation with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan the night before, and shared that U.S. officials believe the UFOs shot down after being observed over a remote part of Alaska and Canada were balloons.

These objects were “much smaller” than the balloon shot down over the Atlantic Ocean last weekend, Schumer said, and they were flying at a lower altitude of about 40,000 feet, endangering commercial aircraft.

With salvage operations underway, Schumer said U.S. military and intelligence officials are focused on gathering and accumulating information. A “comprehensive analysis” will follow, the senator added.

Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder said on Friday the UFO shot down over Alaska was “about the size of a small car” and “not similar in size or shape” to the suspected Chinese surveillance balloon. The Pentagon said recovery teams were deployed to collect debris on top of ice in U.S. territorial waters, per CNN.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau first announced on Saturday a U.S. Air Force fighter jet shot down a UFO flying over the Yukon. He said Canadian forces would recover and analyze the wreckage of the object shot down over the Yukon. Anand said the UFO appeared to be a “small, cylindrical object.”

Little more information has been formally released through official government channels, and unlike the suspected Chinese spy balloon, there have been no reliable images of the other aircraft that have emerged.

The suspected Chinese spy balloon appears to have been much larger than the UFOs that followed and was flying at a higher altitude that apparently did not endanger commercial aircraft, according to U.S. officials. A senior State Department official said the Chinese balloon was equipped with “multiple antennas” capable of collecting signals intelligence, according to NBC News.

While concerns have been raised about why the military did not shoot down the balloon sooner as it transited a wide swath of the United States, the Pentagon stressed the danger of falling debris and even the possibility of the vessel carrying explosives.

China claims the vessel was a civilian weather balloon that had been blown off course and condemned the United States for its decision to shoot the aircraft down.

There have been other potential sightings in the past 24 hours.

NORAD detected what it called a “radar anomaly,” leading to a temporary flight restriction over the central part of Montana on Saturday night. But a fighter aircraft sent to investigate “did not identify any object to correlate” the radar hits and the restriction was lifted, NORAD said.

“I am in constant communication with NORCOM and they have just advised me that they have confidence there IS an object and it WAS NOT an anomaly,” tweeted Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT) on Sunday. “I am waiting now to receive visual confirmation. Our nation’s security is my priority.”

Also on Sunday, the Federal Aviation Administration temporarily closed a section of airspace mostly over northern Lake Michigan in support of a national defense situation.

It appears the temporary air restriction over Lake Michigan was connected to the object shot down over Lake Huron to the east on the other side of the state of Michigan. “Based on its flight path and data we can reasonably connect this object to the radar signal picked up over Montana,” DOD’s Sunday statement said.

Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MT) appeared on Fox News and said he was told by the Defense Department that the UFO shot down over Lake Huron appears to have had an octagonal structure. That matches a tweet by Edward Wong, a diplomatic correspondent for The New York Times, who said U.S. officials revealed the object appeared as “an octagonal structure with strings hanging off but no discernible payload.”

Sightings in other parts of the world were also reported Sunday. Authorities in China said they witnessed a UFO off the coast of a port city, a state-run newspaper claimed. There were also reports that Uruguay’s Air Force was investigating “flashing lights in the sky.”

During his interview on ABC’s “This Week,” Schumer claimed the United States only discovered such flying objects dating back to the Trump administration within the past few months. Indeed, new reports have divulged intelligence about sightings of high-altitude balloons believed to be from China around places such as Florida and Hawaii.

“It is wild that we didn’t know,” Schumer said. He added later: “Now they are learning a lot more. And the military and the intelligence are focused like a laser on first gathering and accumulating the information, then coming up with a comprehensive analysis.”

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