Missing ‘balloon’ boy found safe at home

By Calvin Palmer

The Colorado boy believed to have disappeared today when he climbed into a box attached to a balloon has been found in his home.

When the balloon crashed two counties away, two hours later, the box with six-year-old Falcon Heene was not found. Search teams began scouring the area.

Kathy Messick, Larimer County sheriff’s spokeswoman, says one of the boy’s brothers saw him get into the box or basket, which was attached with pegs.

Larimer County Sheriff’s Office later issued a statement saying, “As far as we have been able to ascertain, there was no ‘basket’ that had originally been a part of the balloon and which may have detached during the flight. From our understanding, the balloon that landed is in the same condition as what had taken off. We have had no confirmation either way on this.”

His parents, Richard and Mayumi Heene, were described as “very traumatized”.

Richard Heene is described as a storm chaser and has a theory that rotational storms form their own magnetic field. Needless to say, he has no formal training. I guess it beats working for a living.

The balloon was tethered behind the family home in Fort Collins. The two sons were playing when the older boy saw Falcon clamber into the box and fly away.

It eventually landed in a dirt field, where Sheriff’s deputies secured the balloon to keep it in place.

While the balloon was in the air, northbound departures at Denver International Airport were suspended as a precaution to prevent a possible collision between the balloon and an airliner, said Lyle Burrington, an air traffic controller at the Federal Aviation Administration’s radar center in Longmont, Colorado.

The story gripped the television news networks, which set aside other programming to follow the balloon and speculate on the safety of the boy.

“It’s got everybody freaked out,” said Fox News Channel’s Shepard Smith, “and why wouldn’t it?”

Does Fox News qualify as a news network? Perhaps the station got freaked out because it was a news story rather than the usual ultra-conservative propaganda it broadcasts.

The Heene familyhas 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.

After today’s little charade, we know that they are also obsessed with wanting to be in the limelight.

[Based on reports by the Associated Press and msnbc.com]

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