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News | Feb. 17, 2023

U.S. Northern Command Recovery Operations Update on Airborne Objects

United States Northern Command

U.S. Northern Command recommended that search operations conclude today near Deadhorse, Alaska, and on Lake Huron, as search activities have discovered no debris from airborne objects shot down on Feb. 10 and Feb. 12, 2023. The U.S. military, federal agencies, and Canadian partners conducted systematic searches of each area using a variety of capabilities, including airborne imagery and sensors, surface sensors and inspections, and subsurface scans, and did not locate debris. The Secretary of Defense concurred with the recommendation.

In Deadhorse, Alaska, U.S. Northern Command worked closely with the Alaska National Guard, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and U.S. Indo-Pacific Command to position teams to expedite recovery should searches locate debris. Arctic conditions and sea ice instability informed decisions to conclude search operations in this location. Air safety perimeters will be lifted after flight operations conclude today.

On Lake Huron, the Unified Command Group consisting of capabilities from U.S. Coast Guard District 9, the FBI, Canadian Coast Guard, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have not identified debris from the airborne object after multiple days of surface searches and subsurface scans. Air and maritime safety perimeters have been lifted.

Recovery operations concluded Feb. 16 off the coast of South Carolina, after U.S. Navy assets assigned to U.S. Northern Command successfully located and retrieved debris from the high-altitude PRC surveillance balloon shot down Feb. 4, 2023. Final pieces of debris are being transferred to the Federal Bureau of Investigation Laboratory in Virginia for counterintelligence exploitation, as has occurred with the previous surface and subsurface debris recovered. U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard vessels have departed the area. Air and maritime safety perimeters have been lifted.