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Both 'objects' shot down over Alaska, Canada believed to be balloons, US says

( Fox )

The unidentified "objects" the U.S. shot down over Canada and Alaska are were both believed to be balloons carrying a payload, a senior U.S. official confirmed to Fox News on Sunday.

Details regarding the over Canada object were scarce throughout the weekend, but U.S. officials now describe it as a "small metallic balloon with a tethered payload," the official told Fox. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also said he received a briefing on the issue Sunday and was told that the device over Alaska was also believed to be a balloon.

The devices were "much smaller" than the Chinese spy craft shot down last week, however, Schumer told ABC's This Week.

President Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ordered the objects shot down on Saturday.

U.S. and allied forces had been tracking the device over Canada for more than a day by the time it was shot down.

The U.S. and Canada still say the craft's origin is unknown, attempts to recover debris from the vehicle are underway.

The White House released a readout of a call between Biden and Trudeau shortly after the Saturday operation.

"Out of an abundance of caution and at the recommendation of their militaries, President Biden and Prime Minister Trudeau authorized it to be taken down," the readout said. "President Biden authorized US fighter aircraft assigned to NORAD to conduct the operation and a US F-22 shot down the object in Canadian territory in close coordination with Canadian authorities."

The device was the third aircraft that U.S. Forces have shot down over North America in the past week. Biden first ordered an F-22 fighter to shoot down a Chinese spy craft off the coast of South Carolina. Another craft of unknown origin was shot down over frozen water between Alaska and Canada.

The U.S. and Canada are currently working to recover debris from all three craft. Only the one shot down off of the U.S. East Coast is known to be of Chinese origin, however.

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