Canadian recovery teams are searching the Yukon wilderness for the remnants of an object shot down by American military planes Saturday afternoon that the US is now identifying as a small surveillance balloon. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the balloon, which was spotted at an altitude of about 12-thousand metres, “represented a reasonable threat to civilian aircraft” so he gave the order to take it down. It was about 160 kilometres from the Alaskan border when it was destroyed. The US military also downed another object closer to heavily populated areas in southern Ontario and the American East Coast yesterday — making it the fourth to be shot down in North America since February 4th.
A member of the Turkish-Canadian Society says the group was disheartened that only one Canadian search crew was deployed to Turkey after last week’s earthquake. Sina Kutluay says the society is now focused on helping co-ordinate donations and providing support to community members who have lost family or friends in the quake, but is calling for a more streamlined process for future international disasters. The Burnaby Urban Search and Rescue team from British Columbia self-deployed last week and remains the only Canadian crew in the quake zone, as the Vancouver consulate has said a deadline for others to participate has expired. Canadian federal authorities did not give an official go-ahead to any rescue teams after last week’s quake — which has killed many thousands — but have sent an assessment team and committed 10-million dollars to relief efforts.
A fire at a dock in Vancouver’s Granville Island has destroyed three large boats. Vancouver firefighters responded to what they described as a “suspicious” fire around 2 A-M Sunday. Firefighters say one of the three destroyed boats sank into the water and seven other boats also sustained damage, but no one was injured. Police in Vancouver estimate the fire caused between five and 10-million dollars in damages.
Environment Canada has issued a snowfall warning for part of the Coquihalla Highway in the Nicola region. The alert went into effect early yesterday and is expected to last until this evening. The weather office says 20 to 25 centimetres of snow is expected to accumulate on the highway from Hope to Merritt. It says the snow will taper off early tomorrow morning when a ridge of high pressure moves in.
Environment Canada has issued wind warnings for Metro Vancouver. It says westerly winds are expected at 70 kilometers an hour, gusting to 90. The weather office says peak winds are expected late this afternoon and into the evening hours, but will ease tonight. It is warning that the winds may cause damage to buildings, including to roof shingles and windows, and that high winds may result in power outages and fallen tree branches. Similar wind warnings have also been issued for Victoria and the Southern Gulf Islands.