US jet missed first shot at object over Lake Huron

The first missile shot Sunday at an unidentified object flying over Lake Huron missed its target, landing instead in the lake waters, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Tuesday.

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“(The) first shot missed, second shot hit,” Gen. Mark Milley told reporters in Brussels. “In this case the … missile landed harmlessly in the water of Lake Huron. We tracked it all the way down and we made sure that the airspace was clear of any commercial, civilian or recreational traffic. We do the same for the maritime space.”

Milley said officials are “very, very deliberate in our planning” to ensure the safety of American citizens.

“We’re very, very careful to make sure that those shots are, in fact, safe,” he said. “And that’s the guidance from the president — shoot it down but make sure we minimize collateral damage and we preserve the safety of the American people.”

The object was one of three shot out of North American airspace between Friday and Sunday and the fourth since Feb. 4, when the U.S. downed a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon off the coast of South Carolina.

Unidentified objects were also shot down off the Northern coast of Alaska on Friday and over the Yukon on Saturday. Authorities continued efforts Tuesday to collect debris to determine what the objects were and who might have launched them.

On Monday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters in Brussels that the unidentified object posed no “military threat” to people on the ground.

“They do, however, present a risk to civil aviation and potentially an intelligence collection threat, and we’ll get to the bottom of it,” he said. “Right now, our priority is on — is debris recovery so that we can get a better sense of what these objects are.”

White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said that authorities found no signs that the objects had propulsion capabilities or that they were sending communication signals.

“While we have no specific reason to suspect that they were conducting surveillance of any kind, we couldn’t rule that out,” he said.

Efforts to recover debris from the objects shot down near Alaska and over the Canadian Yukon have been complicated by icy conditions and wilderness in the areas where they were downed. Kirby said Monday that the object shot down over Lake Huron “now lies in what is probably very deep water.”

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