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Boy floats away in homemade helium balloon


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Very bizarre. I hope the boy is OK.

 

FORT COLLINS — A homemade balloon aircraft floated away from a yard in Colorado after a 6-year-old boy was seen climbing inside, setting off a frantic scramble by the military and law enforcement agencies before the balloon slowly touched down in a field.

 

The child's fate was unclear, and there was no sign of him in the balloon when it landed. Authorities feverishly searched for any sign of the child on the ground, including in the neighborhood where he lives.

 

The bizarre scene played out live on television as the balloon rotated slowly in the wind, tipping precariously at times before gliding to the ground.

 

Cathy Davis of the Larimer County Sheriff's Department told reporters the balloon was owned by the boy's parents and tethered behind the family's home. She said two sons were playing outside when the older boy saw the younger one go into a compartment at the bottom of the balloon and fly away.

 

"We'll just have to respond the best we can," Davis said. "This is a first and we'll do what we need to do."

 

She said the family was in contact with experts to provide details on the craft, including what it's made of and what might happen when it reaches the ground.

 

The Colorado Army National Guard sent an OH-58 Kiowa helicopter and was preparing to send a Black Hawk UH-60 to try to rescue the boy, possibly by lowering someone to the balloon. They also were working with pilots of ultralight aircraft on the possibility of putting weights on the homemade craft to weigh it down.

 

But the balloon landed on its own in a dirt field. Sheriff's deputies secured it to keep it in place, even tossing shovelfuls of dirt on one edge

 

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Laura Brown said the agency tracked the balloon through reports from pilots and that air traffic control facilities in the region are aware of the situation.

 

Larimer County sheriff's spokeswoman Eloise Campanella had said the device had the potential to rise to 10,000 feet.

 

"We were sitting eating, out looking where they normally shoot off hot air balloons. My husband said he saw something. It went over our rooftop. Then we saw the big round balloonish thing, it was spinning," said neighbor Lisa Eklund.

 

"By the time I saw it, it traveled pretty fast," she said.

 

The Denver Post is reporting that the balloon belongs to Richard Heene, whose son, Falcon, is on board. Heene, a storm chaser, was profiled with his family by the Post in 2007.

 

The Heene family was also profiled on the ABC show, "Wife Swap."

 

www.dailycamera.com/sports/ci_13568761

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It's a cute story (since the boy is safe, obviously). However, I just have a little concern. Was there always at least one person searching the house and/or the neighborhood? I mean, what if the brother lied because he thought it would be funny? What if the boy got in the balloon, but then thought it was weird/scary and panicked and ran off while no one was looking? I understand kids can hide in strange places for long periods of time, so I'm not blaming the boy. I also understand that this would be a panic-inducing situation, but somebody should've had enough of a level head to search the most obvious option (home).

 

Think of all the money and brain-power (worry, careful planning, etc.) expended.

 

I guess my conclusion is that I don't see the connection between "he was in the balloon at one point" and "the balloon escaped and he must have been in it". What happened in reality should've seemed at least equally plausible, if not more so, in the first place.

 

Sorry for the rant!

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^Ya it was a waste of "brain power", but you absolutely can't doubt that tip. What happens if it was true that the boy was in the balloon? At some point, it seems like the child entered the carrier, and without adequate knowledge about the crafts flight, the craft itself or how to get back to Earth, the boy COULD have potentially seriously injured himself or died. It is the possibility that he could have been there that made them go to the extent they did. it is the "if".

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How did I not hear about this while it was happening? I just heard about it a few hours ago after it had already ended and I live right here in Fort Collins.

 

Great, now we won't here anything about anything else in this town for a month.

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^That's very true.

 

If you watch Mythbusters you would have seen that it took them something like 5000+ balloons to life a small girl. There's no way that balloon could have lifted the boy. Let's also not forget that if he was in the balloon, he probably would have died from lack of oxygen well before he landed.

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They just interviewed the family and the boys this morning on NBC and the kid that was missing blew chunks all over the place - on air! im talkin' projectile vomiting. lol it was hilarious...

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That video was freaking hysterical!!!! It was so funny the way the dad jumped and the family was going nuts but the interviewer kept talking like nothing happened.

 

This whole news story is begging to be made into a South Park episode!!!

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The first thing that got me is that the first number they called was to the local news station as opposed to the police. Now, I'm not a parent or anything but I can't think of why any parent wouldn't call the police first if their child was missing. Also on Larry King, when asked about it the boy apparently told his father "you said it was for a show". It seems like its a hoax, well at least that is what it is adding up to..wasn't that family on Wife Swap like, twice already too?

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The first thing that got me is that the first number they called was to the local news station as opposed to the police. Now, I'm not a parent or anything but I can't think of why any parent wouldn't call the police first if their child was missing. Also on Larry King, when asked about it the boy apparently told his father "you said it was for a show". It seems like its a hoax, well at least that is what it is adding up to..wasn't that family on Wife Swap like, twice already too?

 

You would be surprised on how many people call the tv stations before they call 911/authorities. In the southern part of the viewing area for my station, we have people calling a reporter for a fire before they call 911. I am not kidding.

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