Debris from ‘suspect balloon’ may never be found in Yukon after search is called off
Filmmaker Andrew Gregg says finding the remains of a “suspected balloon” shot down over the Yukon a week ago has never been easy.
“Honestly, I think this is more daunting than trying to find the Skymaster,” he said, referring to the US military aircraft that was the subject of his 2022 documentary. skymaster below. This plane with 44 passengers on board disappeared in the Yukon in 1950 and has never been found.
“No rivet showed up. So yeah, the Yukon has the ability to just absorb those things.”
On Friday, RCMP said the search for debris from the suspected balloon had been suspended after a little less than a week. The object was shot down by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) on February 11, with the debris likely lying somewhere in the vast, wild country between Dawson City and Mayo, Yukon.
“Given the snowfall that has occurred, the decreasing likelihood that the object will be found, and the current belief that the object is not linked to a scenario warranting an exceptional search effort, the RCMP is terminating the search,” police said in a Friday statement press release .
The missing object was one of four mysterious objects shot down over North America earlier this month. Of those, only one has been identified — China says the 200-foot balloon launched off the coast of South Carolina was used to monitor weather conditions, but Washington says it was a surveillance balloon with a massive undercarriage containing electronics.
The search for the other mysterious objects – in Alaska and around Lake Huron – has also been halted
A few days after the search began in the Yukon, Chief of Defense Staff Gen. Wayne Eyre said the object was a “suspected balloon” and that the search for debris in the Yukon was conducted through the “remote, mountainous area with deep snow risk.” “Hampered by avalanches and harsh weather conditions.”
Gregg isn’t surprised that the quest proved difficult, if not impossible.
“How do you find something when you’re not even sure what it is in a place like the Yukon wilderness in winter? I have no idea how to even begin,” Gregg said.
Was it a hobby balloon?
One theory about the Yukon Object is that it is actually owned by a small hobby club in the seventh circumnavigation. The balloon was located near Hagemeister Island off the southwest corner of Alaska and was expected to hover over the Yukon.
Steve Trimble from Aviation Week reported the possible connection. He says the organization has been very reclusive.
“They might have set a new distance record if they hadn’t been shot down by a missile,” Trimble said.
“I think they’re quite embarrassed and quite appalled at all the commotion they may have caused.”
Trimble says pico balloons — typically inflated to about a meter in diameter and suspended at a great altitude with a tracker — are largely a new phenomenon.
“No one really knew this hobby existed,” he said. “I don’t think NORAD got it.”
Nor is he surprised that the search for debris in the Yukon has ended. The remains of a pico balloon are impossible to find, he says.
“I mean, the winds are going to carry the little fragments to who knows where, and it’s not big at first. So you’re never going to see that stuff again,” he said.