Advance Notice: Briefs

Military shoots down unidentified object over Lake Huron

By: - February 13, 2023 4:44 am

Lake Huron | Susan J. Demas

According to officials, a U.S. F-16 jet on Sunday shot down an unidentified flying object over Lake Huron.

The object is the fourth “high-altitude object” decommissioned by Air Force jets in North America in recent days, following incidents in airspace over Alaska, Canada’s northern Yukon territory and South Carolina.

“Our national security and safety is always a top priority,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer tweeted Sunday. “I’ve been in contact with the federal government and our partners who were tracking an object near our airspace. I’m glad to report it has been swiftly, safely, and securely taken down. The @MINationalGuard stands ready.”

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.) tweeted that he’s “been in touch with the Pentagon, DHS, and FAA regarding the closure of air space over the Great Lakes” and said he will “continue pressing [the Department of Defense] for transparency.” 

U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) said, “We’ll know more about what this was in the coming days, but for now, be assured that all parties have been laser-focused on it from the moment it traversed our waters.”

U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman at the 2019 Mackinac Policy Conference | Andrew Roth

U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet) acknowledged that much remains unknown. 

“The American people deserve far more answers than we have,” he wrote on Twitter.

“The increasing incidents of unidentified objects, the latest over Lake Huron in Michigan airspace, are disturbing,” U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell said in a statement. “We need the facts about where they are originating from, what their purpose is, and why their frequency is increasing. Our national security is of the utmost importance and we must work in a bipartisan way with this Administration and all relevant partners for answers and the appropriate reaction. I’m thankful to the Air Force, National Guard, and all our military forces who are working vigilantly to keep us safe.”

The recent incidents in Michigan, Alaska and Canada follow the discovery of a Chinese surveillance balloon that entered North America through Alaskan air space and floated over the continental U.S. before being downed on Feb. 4. President Joe Biden was criticized by Republicans for not taking action on the balloon sooner, and has ordered the other objects to be swiftly shot down.

China has denied responsibility for the balloon. U.S. officials say China spies on military sites across the globe using such balloons.

The object downed over Michigan was described by officials as shaped like an octagon, while the ones over Alaska and Canada were described as “cylindrical.” It is not clear if the objects are related to the Chinese surveillance balloon or to each other.

Officials say they are still retrieving wreckage from all four downed objects to better understand them.

A version of this story first ran in the Detroit Metro Times.

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Lee DeVito
Lee DeVito

Leyland "Lee" DeVito grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, where he read Metro Times religiously due to teenaged-induced boredom. He became a contributing writer for Metro Times in 2009, and Editor in Chief in 2016. In addition to writing, he also supplies occasional illustrations. His writing has been published in Metro Times, Hour Detroit magazine, Vice, In These Times, and New City.