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Post Info TOPIC: 6-year-old boy floats away in hot-air balloon - Updated - Boy Found In Attic

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6-year-old boy floats away in hot-air balloon - Updated - Boy Found In Attic

6-year-old boy floats away in hot-air balloon
(AP) – 11 minutes ago

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — A 6-year-old boy climbed into a hot-air balloon aircraft and floated away Thursday, forcing officials to scramble to figure out how to rescue the boy.

Larimer County sheriff's spokeswoman Eloise Campanella says the device, which is shaped like a flying saucer, has the potential to rise to 10,000 feet. Sheriff's officials last saw the device floating south of Milliken, which is about 40 miles north of Denver.

Campanella says the 6-year-old climbed into the access door and was in the airborne device.

FAA spokesman Mike Fergus says the agency has been notified and it was unclear whether traffic controllers had picked it up on radar.

Additional details were not immediately available.


From CNN
(CNN) -- Officials are trying to rescue a 6-year-old boy who climbed into a balloon-like experimental aircraft built by his parents and floated into the sky over eastern Colorado.

The aluminum-covered, dome-shaped balloon is 20 feet long and 5 feet high, Larimer County Sheriff's Office says.

Margie Martinez of the Weld County Sheriff's Office said a sibling saw the boy climb into the basket before the balloon took off. Since the door on the balloon was unlocked, Martinez said it's possible the boy had fallen out.

The balloon appeared to be a saucer-shaped, Mylar-coated helium balloon, not unlike a party balloon. The craft was drifting eastward, authorities said.

The helium balloon was tethered to the boy's family home in Fort Collins, the Larimer County Sheriff's Department said. The boy got into the craft Thursday morning and undid the rope anchoring it.

The aluminum-covered, dome-shaped balloon is 20 feet long and 5 feet high, the Larimer County Sheriff's Office said. Watch the balloon float thousands of feet over Colorado »

"The structure at the bottom of the balloon that the boy is in is made of extremely thin plywood and won't withstand any kind of a crash at all," said Erik Nilsson, Larimer County Emergency Manager, according to CNN affiliate KMGH.

Don't Miss
KUSA: Officials trying to rescue child from experimental aircraft
KGMH: Frantic Search Under Way To Find Boy
The Federal Aviation Administration is trying to track the aircraft on radar and has notified the Denver International Airport. Shortly after noon (2 p.m. ET), the balloon was sighted two miles south of Evans.

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers estimated the wind would keep the vessel moving at 30 mph. Authorities say the craft is about 7,000 feet above the ground.

Kathy Davis, spokeswoman for the sheriff's department, said a dispatcher received a call Thursday morning, and emergency services personnel were contacted.

Davis said a balloon company had been contacted and several media outlets offered to help track the balloon with their helicopters.

The family has described the structure as a a dome-shaped "homemade flying saucer," Larimer County Sheriff's Office Spokeswoman Kathy Davis said.

"We're trying to determine the best course of action," Davis said. "This is a first and we'll do what we need to do."


LARIMER COUNTY - Authorities are searching a specific area in Larimer County for a box that was attached to the bottom of an experimental aircraft that took off from a Fort Collins home with a 6-year-old boy inside after a sheriff's deputy thought he saw something fall in that area.

The Larimer County Sheriff's deputy thought he saw something fall in the area around County Road 41 and County Road 28.

The homemade aircraft made an apparent soft landing northeast of Denver International Airport on Thursday afternoon, but rescue crews found no sign of the boy when they reached the aircraft.

When it landed five miles east of Prospect Reservoir, 9NEWS could not see any child rescued from the basket of the balloon, but earlier Fort Collins Police had said they were certain he was still inside.

Police believe the boy, Falcon Heene, was inside the box when the aircraft lifted off around 11 a.m.

Police say there are pegs on the bottom of the aircraft that indicate that a box was attached at some point.

The experimental aircraft, which is a type of balloon filled with helium, was up for nearly three hours and appeared to start to rapidly deflate shortly after 1 p.m.

According to the Larimer County Sheriff's Department, the 6-year-old boy's parents had been building an experimental aircraft which had a large helium balloon attached to it at their home on Fossil Ridge Road in Fort Collins.

On Thursday morning, according to the family and officials, the boy got onto the aircraft and detached the rope holding it in place.

The aircraft was a dome-shaped, 20 foot, 5 foot aircraft covered with foil. As it was flying, it was going about 20-25 mph.

A spokesperson with Fort Collins Police said, "This balloon was never meant to actually carry anybody. It was just a family project they were working on. The little compartment where their son is in is very small and it's not attached very well."

Police say the family's two boys were playing outside with the rest of the family inside the house. One son watched his little brother go inside the compartment and watched the balloon take off.

The Federal Aviation Administration worked to track the aircraft on its radar tower and notified DIA. At one point, a helicopter with the Colorado National Guard was launched to help in the rescue.

Shortly after noon, the Weld County Sheriff's Office said the balloon was seen two miles south of Evans, near County Road 46 and Highway 85.

Closer to 1 p.m., the aircraft was listed as near Hudson.

DIA rerouted northbound flights as a precaution because of the aircraft. There were no delays or cancellations and the airport is back to normal operations.

Sky9 worked with Weld County officials to track the aircraft from the air beginning around noon.

Viewer Lisa Eklund sent photos of an aircraft in the air near her home on Saturn Drive, also in Fort Collins.

The boy's father Richard Heene is a known storm chaser. During an appearance on the television program WifeSwap, Heene and his wife, Mayumi, focused on their love of science.

Last year, the 9NEWS Morning Show interviewed Richard and Mayumi Heene about their passion for storm chasing. Click here to read the story and watch the video.

9NEWS will continue to follow this story and provide updates on and 9NEWS at 4, 5 and 6 p.m.

Photos courtesy of Lisa Eklund
(Copyright KUSA*TV, All Rights Reserved)
[link to]


The 6-year-old Colorado boy who is believed to have set adrift a helium balloon Thursday, prompting ground and air searches, has been found alive, authorities said.

He was found in a box in the attic at his family's Fort Collins home, according to authorities.
A sibling said he saw the boy, identified as Falcon Heene, get into the craft Thursday morning, authorities said.

But the boy was not inside the craft when it made a soft landing near Keenesburg, about 60 miles from its starting point in Fort Collins, at 1:35 p.m. (3:35 p.m. ET).




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I'm glad the boy was okay, but WHY didn't he come down out of the attic. His parents could have had a heart attack. 



"Sometimes when you open your mind to the impossible,
  you discover the truth." Walter from Fringe.

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FORT COLLINS, COLO.–By all accounts, Richard Heene is an unapologetic self-promoter who would pursue all sorts of off-the-wall stunts to get media attention. Flying saucers, mountaintop helicopter stunts, storm chasing, reality TV shows – no gag was beyond his limits.

But would he go so far as to hide his 6-year-old son in the rafters of his garage for five hours and make it seem like the boy floated away in a helium balloon?

It was a question being asked everywhere Friday, one day after the balloon drama unfolded live on TV during a frenzied search before little Falcon Heene was found.

The sheriff's office said it does not believe at this point the balloon episode was a stunt, but investigators planned to question the family again Saturday. Richard Heene denies this was a hoax.

Doubts surfaced after a series of bizarre TV interviews, including one on CNN in which Falcon Heene told his parents, "You said we did this for a show," when asked why he did not come down from the garage rafters during the search. The family made the rounds on the morning talk shows Friday, and Falcon threw up during two separate interviews when asked why he hid.

Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden admitted that Falcon's comments on CNN had "raised everybody's level of skepticism."

Alderden said the family seemed genuine during the panic, and he believed events could have unfolded just as they described: Falcon got frightened when his father scolded him for playing inside the balloon, and hid in the garage out of fear.

The sheriff was asked about the sequence of events when the Heenes reported their child's disappearance. The Heenes called the FAA first, followed by a local TV station with a news helicopter, and then dialled 911.

It was not the first time someone from the Heenes' home has dialled 911. A sheriff's deputy responded to a 911 hang-up in February at the home, hearing a man yelling and noticied Heene's wife, Mayumi, had a mark on her cheek and broken blood vessels in her eye. She said it was because of a problem with her contacts. The husband and wife said nothing had happened, and the deputy concluded he did not have probable cause for an arrest.


Richard Heene's actions have drawn scrutiny before. He has worked as a storm chaser, a handyman and a contractor, and an aspiring reality-TV star.

He and his family appeared on the reality show Wife Swap, receiving no more than a few thousand dollars for each show, according to a person familiar with the production who asked for anonymity.

In addition, the producer of Wife Swap said there had been a show in development with the Heenes but the deal is now off. The producer did not provide specifics.

Barb Slusser Adams, who along with Heene and another man worked on a proposed show called The Science Detectives, said she became used to his relentless attempts to get media attention for the show, which never aired.

Slusser said one of Heene's publicity ideas involved going to the top of a mountain with her and an associate and a "helicopter would come by and strafe us or whatever."


On Friday, dozens of journalists parked in front of the family home. One of the boys, Ryo, would occasionally crack open the front door and tell journalists the family was not talking. "My dad said he's tired of this show."


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The Larimer County, Colorado sheriff said Saturday charges will be filed in the saga of the boy who was believed to be in balloon that was aloft for more than two hours on Thursday.

Officials did not elaborate as to the nature of the charges.

Six-year-old Falcon Heene hid in a garage at his Fort Collins home while the world thought he was zooming through the sky in a helium balloon.

Investigators from sheriff's office interviewed Falcon's parents, Richard and Mayumi Heene again on Saturday.

Doubts over the Heenes' story surfaced after a CNN interview in which Falcon told his parents "you said we did this for a show" after his father asked why he did not come down from the rafters during the search Thursday.

Then Falcon got sick during two separate TV interviews when asked why he hid. Richard Heene promised a "big announcement" Saturday, but then did an about-face, telling reporters that they should leave questions in a cardboard box on the front doorstep.

The storm-chasing inventor continues to deny the incident was a hoax.


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FORT COLLINS, CO -- The story that a little boy had floated away in a giant helium balloon was a hoax concocted to land a reality television show, authorities said Sunday, and the boy's parents will likely face felony charges.

The stunt two weeks in the planning was a marketing ploy by Richard and Mayumi Heene, who met in acting school in Hollywood and have appeared on the ABC reality show "Wife Swap," Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden said.

The Heenes have reportedly been working on a reality TV deal in Los Angeles.

Investigators are examining the possibility of other conspirators, "including the possibility that even some of the media outlets may have had some knowledge about this," Alderden said.

Documents show that a media outlet has agreed to pay money to the Heenes with regards to the balloon incident, Alderden said.

He didn't name the media outlet, but said it was a show that blurs "the line between entertainment and news."

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