Canadian defence officials have stated that they must locate the balloons that were shot down earlier this month after discovering a Chinese spy balloon. Without the balloons, there is very little evidence to help them determine their origin or purpose. Maj. Gen. Paul Prévost, director of staff with Strategic Joint Staff, compared the search to “looking for a needle in a snow bank rather than in a haystack”. The U.S. Coast Guard has given up searching for one of the balloons in Lake Huron due to the small chance of finding it. This leaves one balloon in Alaska and one in the Yukon. The search is urgent due to snowfall expected next week, which could make the already difficult mission impossible. The Canadian Armed Forces have 130 members searching, as well as six aircraft. A task force of about 70 members, mainly Special Forces and rangers, are ready to move in to retrieve a balloon if it is spotted. Lt. Gen. Alain Pelletier, deputy commander of NORAD, said that with the data available, they have not been able to pinpoint the origin of the other three balloons. To find the origin or purpose, they are doing data reduction of the radar contacts, video analysis, and investigating the general use of balloons in Canadian and other air spaces.
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