6-year-old Colorado boy floats away in balloon

Postby maberi » October 15th, 2009, 3:37 pm

Good lord

http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/10/15/colora ... index.html


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

The dome-shaped balloon is 20 feet long and 5 feet high, Larimer County Sheriff's Office says.
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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 department said the dome-shaped balloon is 20 feet long and 5 feet high. Video 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.

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.

A dispatcher received a call Thursday morning, and emergency services personnel were contacted, Larimer County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Kathy Davis said.
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A balloon company has been contacted and several media outlets offered to help track the balloon with their helicopters, 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."
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Postby Marinepits » October 15th, 2009, 4:01 pm

Balloon is down, boy is not inside. Witnesses are reporting they saw "something" fall out of the balloon. :(

House and grounds were searched and no boy found. Deputies going out to talk to witnesses.
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Postby iluvk9 » October 15th, 2009, 4:45 pm

Oh. My. God.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » October 15th, 2009, 4:58 pm

Oh my god. How horrible. :(
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Postby Marinepits » October 15th, 2009, 5:07 pm

Now authorities are searching for a "box" that was attached to the bottom of the balloon -- the kid was in the box.
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Postby Marinepits » October 15th, 2009, 6:16 pm

Box found, no kid.

However, the kid WAS found, safe and sound, hiding inside a box in the attic of the garage! :rock:
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » October 15th, 2009, 6:36 pm

Holy hell, are you serious???? Criminey.
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Postby maberi » October 15th, 2009, 7:10 pm

What the hell

When I was a kid we played ding dong ditch for pranks :|
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Postby Jenn » October 15th, 2009, 8:36 pm

:shock: Oh my god, that had to be absolutely terrifying for those parents!!!
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Postby Marinepits » October 16th, 2009, 2:00 pm

News conference happening shortly about whether or not this whole thing was a set-up/hoax.....
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Postby Marinepits » October 17th, 2009, 10:28 pm

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,568321,00.html

Colo. Sheriff: Charges Will Be Filed in Balloon Boy Saga

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — A sheriff said Saturday that his office will file criminal charges in the case of a 6-year-old boy who vanished into the rafters of his garage while the world thought he was zooming through the sky in a flying saucer-like helium balloon.

After the boy's parents, Richard and Mayumi Heene, met with sheriff's officials for much of the afternoon, Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden didn't say who would be charged or what the charges would be, but he did say the parents spoke to investigators voluntarily and weren't under arrest.

Alderden previously said that if the balloon ordeal was a hoax, the parents could be charged with making a false report to authorities, a low-level misdemeanor.

"We were looking at Class 3 misdemeanor, which hardly seems serious enough given the circumstances," Alderden said Saturday. "We are talking to the district attorney, federal officials to see if perhaps there aren't additional federal charges that are appropriate in this circumstance."

He said deputies were seeking a search warrant for the family's home, and there would be more information at a news conference Sunday.

The Heenes were expected to speak to reporters outside their home later Saturday, after a strange day that began with Richard Heene knocking on the windows of journalists camped outside his home and promising a "big announcement." A few hours later, he did an about-face when he told reporters that they should leave questions in a cardboard box on the front doorstep.

As Heene walked away, a reporter shouted, "Can you tell us once and for all if this is a hoax?"

"Absolutely no hoax. I want your questions in the box," Heene said, waving a cardboard container before going back into his home.

A circus-like atmosphere formed outside, including men holding signs and occasionally yelling "balloon boy." One sign read, "Put balloon boy on TV: America's Most Wanted."

Other gawkers carried aluminum-foil stovetop popcorn makers that resembled the silvery balloon launched from the family's backyard Thursday, with Falcon believed to be onboard.

While Richard and Mayumi Heene were at the sheriff's office, the couple's three sons remained home, apparently being watched by sheriff's officials. Authorities wouldn't comment on what was happening.

Alderden had said that he wanted to re-interview the family after Falcon told CNN that "you said we did this for a show" when asked why he didn't come out of his hiding place. Then Falcon got sick during two separate TV interviews when asked why he hid.

The balloon was supposed to be tethered to the ground when it lifted off, and no one was supposed to be aboard. A video of the launch shows the family counting down in unison, "3, 2, 1," before Richard Heene pulls a cord, setting the balloon into the air.

"Whoa!" one of the boys exclaims. Then his father says in disbelief, "Oh, my God!" He then says to someone, "You didn't put the (expletive) tether down!" and he kicks the wood frame that had held the balloon.

Falcon's brother said he saw him inside the compartment before it took off and that's why they thought he was in there when it launched. Heene said he had yelled at Falcon before the launch for getting inside.

Alderden said earlier that he thinks it's likely that Falcon ran off because he was scared of getting in trouble, later falling asleep in his hiding spot. He said he doubted that such a hyperactive boy could be ordered to stay quiet for the five hours he was missing.

Over the years, Richard Heene has worked as a storm chaser, a handyman and contractor, and an aspiring reality-TV star.

He and his family appeared on the ABC reality show "Wife Swap," and the show's producer said it had a show in development with the Heenes but the deal is now off. TLC also said Heene had pitched a reality show to the network months ago, but it passed on the offer.

Despite his attempts to get on TV, Heene insisted Saturday that he didn't know what kinds of questions were being asked about him because he didn't have cable.

"I'm going to place the box out front. Please write your questions down, because friends are telling me they're saying this and that. I have no idea what the news is saying," Heene said
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » October 18th, 2009, 8:32 am

They should be fined out the wazoo. I can't even imagine how much money was spent on manpower to find this little boy.
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Postby hugapitbull » October 18th, 2009, 8:41 am

I cannot imagine the impact on the kids living in a home that feeds off sensationalism. Sad.
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