Thursday, October 15, 2009

Balloon Boy found safe - hiding in family's attic.

Copywrite: The Simpsons/Groening

I know three little boys who 
may get a talkin' to.
Richard and Mayumi Heene with their sons, Bradford, Ryo and Falcon (middle). 

So, yeah. Falcon (nka "Balloon Boy") was hiding in the house the whole time. 

Bear in mind, this family has been involved in lots of "adventures" for ages. The family appeared on (ugh) Wife Swap, and the dad is a former weather man-turned storm chaser and inventor. Lot of folks are calling in to CNN saying it was a huge publicity stunt by the dad, but I have two (grown now) boys and know how wild they can be at time. 

Once I felt the relief over hearing about Ryo's safety, I bit my lip, trying not to giggle. I KNOW. I couldn't help it. It's a Boy Thing...granted, an extreme Boy Thing, but nevertheless. 

Here is a quick rundown of the events that transpired today:



A 6-year-old boy was found hiding in the attic at home Thursday, several hours after the runaway flight of his family's experimental balloon riveted the nation and led to a frantic search for the child, who was feared to have fallen from the craft.

The news that the boy was safe at home came during a press conference with Larimer County Sheriff's Office officials.

"Apparently the boy’s been there the whole time. He’s been hiding in cardboard box in the attic above the garage," Sheriff Jim Alderden said.
One of boy's older brothers had initially told authorities he saw his brother climb into a box compartment attached to the bottom of the balloon before it became untethered and took off.

The giant silver balloon's bizarre two-hour flight played out live on television, watched by millions of viewers across the country. The balloon rotated slowly in the wind, tipping precariously at times, during its journey before coming down in a dirt field in neighboring Weld County, more than 40 miles away from where it took off.

Deputies rushed to the scene and corralled and deflated the balloon but found no sign of the boy, identified as Falcon Heene, or the box that may have been attached.

The boy's family had been building a helium-balloon craft that was kept tethered in the backyard of their home. The craft, which resembled a silver flying saucer, was approximately 20 feet across by 5 feet high.

On Thursday morning, Falcon was playing outside with one of his two older brothers when the older boy said he saw the younger one go into a box or basket at the bottom of the balloon, said Cathy Davis of the Larimer County Sheriff's Department.

The craft somehow became loose and the balloon took off. It was airborne for more than two hours and glided through two counties.

"This balloon was never meant to actually carry anybody. It was just a family project they were working on," a Fort Collins police spokesperson told reporters.

'Big round balloonish thing'

Several people in the neighborhood saw the aircraft floating over their homes, and some snapped pictures.

Bob Licko, 65, said he was leaving home when he heard commotion in the backyard. He said he saw two boys on the roof with a camera, commenting about their brother.
"One of the boys yelled to me that his brother was way up in the air," Licko said.
He said the boy's mother seemed distraught and that the boy's father was running around the house.
"We were sitting eating, out looking where they normally shoot off hot air balloons," said another neighbor, Lisa Eklund. "My husband said he saw something. It went over our rooftop. Then we saw the big round balloonish thing, it was spinning."

Television news helicopters also tracked the craft, beaming the precarious flight live to viewers.

Officials scrambled to figure out how to safely bring down the craft, believing it was carrying the boy.

The Federal Aviation Administration worked to track the aircraft on radar. A helicopter with the Colorado National Guard was launched to help in any rescue.

The episode led to a brief shutdown of northbound departures from Denver International Airport, one of the nation's busiest, said a controller at the Federal Aviation Administration's radar center in Longmont, Colo. The balloon was about 15 miles northwest of the airport at that time.

The craft floated for about two hours before coming down on its own in a field in Weld County, northeast of Denver International Airport, more than 40 miles away.

Image: Balloon after landing
The experimental balloon craft came down in a field.

Storm chaser

The boy's father, Richard Heene, is an amateur scientist, according to a 2007 Denver Post article on weather chasers. He joined another man, Scott Stevens, to form a Fort Collins-based weather-research team they called The Psyience Detectives.

In the article, Heene described becoming a storm chaser after a tornado ripped off a roof where he was working as a contractor and said he once flew a place around Hurricane Wilma's perimeter in 2005.

Pursuing bad weather was a family activity with the children coming along as the father sought evidence to prove his theory that rotating storms create their own magnetic fields.

Although Richard said he has no specialized training, they had a computer tracking system in their car and a special motorcycle.

The Heene also family appeared twice in the ABC reality show “Wife Swap," most recently in February. On the show, they were portrayed as alien buffs who are obsessed with science.

"When the Heene family aren't chasing storms, they devote their time to scientific experiments that include looking for extraterrestrials and building a research-gathering flying saucer to send into the eye of the storm," according to ABC's description of the episode."

I sure as heck hope DSHS isn't called into this fiasco. They need to focus on their real jobs..which are often not performed properly. The nuts who think these kids should be placed in foster care are just THAT--nuts.

They were just being Little Rascals, and thank GOODNESS Ryo is safe.

1 comment:

jeanbean said...

Thank God my son does not do things like this. I would have a heart attack. Maybe the family should do that show with supernanny instead of wife swap. Just a thought!