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Unidentified object over the territory posed no risk to Yukoner’s safety, premier says

Premier Pillai says no risk to Yukoners’ safety
The sky over Whitehorse. An American aircraft shot down an unidentified object over the Yukon on Feb. 11. (Dana Hatherly/Yukon News)

An American aircraft shot down an unidentified object over the Yukon on Feb. 11.

In a statement on Twitter, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he ordered the take down of an unidentified object that had violated Canadian airspace.

Trudeau said the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) — specifically a U.S. F-22 — shot down the object over the Yukon after Canadian and U.S. aircraft were scrambled.

He said he spoke with U.S. President Joe Biden on the afternoon of Feb. 11.

Trudeau said Canadian Forces will recover and analyze the wreckage.

In a news release, Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said NORAD had detected the object over Alaska late on the evening of Feb. 10.

Following a call between the prime minister and the president, Biden authorized U.S. fighter aircraft assigned to NORAD to work with Canada to take down a “high-altitude airborne object” over northern Canada.

Two F-22s from Alaska monitored the object over U.S. airspace, assisted by Alaska Air National Guard refuelling aircraft, “tracking it closely and taking time to characterize the nature of the object.”

As the object crossed into Canadian airspace, Canadian CF-18 and CP-140 joined the formation.

“A U.S. F-22 shot down the object in Canadian territory using an AIM 9X missile following close coordination between U.S. and Canadian authorities,” reads the release. That included a call between Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Minister of Defence Anita Anand.

“As Canadian authorities conduct recovery operations to help our countries learn more about the object, the Federal Bureau of Investigation will be working closely with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.”

Premier Ranj Pillai issued a statement on the evening of Feb. 11. Pillai said he was briefed by Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendocino and Minister of Northern Affairs Dan Vandal about the object being taken down, and he spoke with Minister of National Defence Anita Anand.

“We recognize events like these can generate concern, but I want to assure Yukoners that at no time was the safety of Yukoners at risk. I also want to commend the prime minister for taking decisive action to protect Yukoners and all Canadians,” Pillai said.

“The federal government’s cooperative approach to information sharing is helpful as we work together to ensure Yukoners are kept informed and up to date about events as they transpire.”

Contact Dana Hatherly at

Dana Hatherly

About the Author: Dana Hatherly

I’m the legislative reporter for the Yukon News.
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