Questions persist over three downed objects

By Toby Martinez and Shane Frakes
Roswell Daily Record

In the days since the search was been called off for three unidentified objects shot down by the U.S. military, more questions than answers remain. Despite the release of a high-resolution picture of a downed Chinese spy balloon taken from the cockpit of a high-altitude U-2 reconnaissance aircraft, the images and video of the three unidentified objects have not been released.

On Feb. 16, Aviation Week published an article stating there was some speculation that the object could have been a pico balloon launched by the Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade. However, the provenance of this group remains unclear, with a defunct website making it difficult to establish their existence or verify their involvement. The Roswell Daily Record sent a message to the email address listed for the group on an archived version of their website but it was returned as undeliverable.

Steve Trimble of Aviation Week wrote in the Feb. 16 article, “The club’s silver-coated, party-style, “pico balloon” reported its last position on Feb. 10 at 38,910 ft. off the west coast of Alaska, and a popular forecasting tool — the HYSPLIT model provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) — projected the cylindrically shaped object would be floating high over the central part of the Yukon Territory on Feb. 11. That is the same day a Lockheed Martin F-22 shot down an unidentified object of a similar description and altitude in the same general area.”

The Roswell Daily Record reached out to Burt Krain who was listed on the archived version of the website as a member of the original group, listed as starting June 9, 2021, then referred to as “The Bottlecap Balloon Battalion.” When asked through email about the Aviation Week article and if he believed the object shot down was one of the group’s balloons, he replied, “No comment!”

Further research by the Roswell Daily Record revealed a post on an archived version of the group’s now offline website from Feb. 17 that stated, “As has been widely reported, no part of the object shot down by the US Air Force jet over the Yukon territory has been recovered. Until that happens and that object is confirmed to be an identifiable pico balloon, any assertions or claims that our balloon was involved in that incident are not supported by facts.”

Aviation Week confirmed to the Roswell Daily Record they were unable to reach the group for comment.

Despite these possible explanations, the U.S. government has not provided a definitive answer about what the three unidentified objects were. “We do not have any footage or images to release at this time. That could change in the future, but we couldn’t speculate on a timeline,” a DOD spokesperson told the Roswell Daily Record on Feb. 18.

In response to a follow-up email sent by the Roswell Daily Record on Saturday, Department of Defense spokesperson Susan Gough stated, “Regarding the three objects, we have no additional imagery that we can release at this time. I have no additional information for you on the objects beyond what has been said in our press briefings or released statements.”

In a letter sent to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen H. Hicks and Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence Stacey Dixon, a bipartisan group of senators urged full funding of the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) to address growing concerns over unidentified anomalous phenomena (UAPs). The letter was co-signed by 16 senators, including Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), who emphasized the need for greater transparency and collaboration between the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community in addressing this issue.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) told the Roswell Daily Record, “I’m proud to have passed language in the FY23 Intelligence Authorization Act that empowers the All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) to rigorously investigate and bring resources to bear on the challenge of unidentified anomalous phenomena. This language strengthens provisions passed in the FY22 National Defense Authorization Act by adding authorities and structure to AARO, requiring greater Intelligence Community and other federal agency participation in the work of the Office, increasing congressional oversight, and mandating a review of historical Intelligence Community involvement in UAPs. AARO has begun to engage with government and non-government entities alike as it steps up its work, including the development of its science plan. I will continue to push for cooperation between the Department of Defense, the Intelligence Community, and other key government partners as we work to focus resources on UAP reports that remain uncharacterized and unattributed.”

Until more information is released regarding the UFOs shot down, the public is left to wonder what they actually were and what happened to them. The lack of information and the possibility of various explanations, including pico balloons and sightings by eyewitnesses, have only added to the mystery surrounding the three unidentified objects. The calls for greater funding and transparency by senators and the ongoing work of the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office suggest that the investigation into unidentified anomalous phenomena will continue, and the public may eventually learn more about this mysterious incident. For now, however, the true nature of the three objects remains unknown.

Have a tip? Toby Martinez and Shane Frakes can be reached by email at