Balloon boy's father denies hoax
Friday 16 October 2009
The father of a boy feared to have been carried away in a balloon today angrily denied the drama which gripped millions was a publicity stunt.
Six-year-old Falcon Heene was found safe at home in Colorado hiding in an attic after the balloon came to earth empty following a helicopter chase that was televised live.
His older brother had apparently told his parents that Falcon had climbed into a compartment on the weather balloon before it was mysteriously released from their garden.
The Heene family is no stranger to publicity, appearing on the ABC show "Wife Swap" and the boys featuring in a rap music video on YouTube.
And Falcon appeared to suggest he had been told what to do when he and his father Richard were interviewed on a US show after the incident.
When asked by his father why he had not emerged from hiding when his name was being called out at home Falcon said: "You had said that we did this for a show."
Mr Heene bristled when the family was asked to clarify and said he did not know what his son meant.
"I'm kind of appalled after all the feelings that I went through, up and down, that you guys are trying to suggest something else," he said.
Earlier when asked if the balloon chase was a publicity stunt he replied: "That's horrible. After the crap we just went through. No. No, no, no."
Local Sheriff Jim Alderden said authorities did not believe at this point it was a hoax but he would meet investigators to decide whether to look into the matter further.
Earlier publicity described the Heene family as storm chasers who also "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."
It was five hours from the time the oldest boy reported that Falcon, the youngest, had climbed into the saucer-shaped balloon that had drifted off, setting off a search that included military helicopters and a plan to either lower a person to the craft of place weights on the balloon to bring it down.
Officials rerouted planes around the balloon's flight path and briefly shut down Denver International Airport.
The saucer-like craft tipped precariously at times before gliding to the ground in a field.
With the child nowhere in sight, investigators searched the balloon's path. Several people reported seeing something fall from the craft while it was in the air, and yellow crime-scene tape was placed around the home.
Then, came news that Falcon had been hiding in a box in rafters in the garage.
Mr Heene said the family had been tinkering with the balloon and that he scolded Falcon for getting inside a compartment on the craft. It was designed to hover about 50 to 100 feet from the ground but it broke loose from its tether.
Falcon's brother said he had seen him inside the compartment before it took off and that is why they thought he was in there when it launched. But the boy had gone to the garage rafters at some point and was never in the balloon during its two-hour, 50-mile journey through two counties.
"I was in the attic and he scared me because he yelled at me," Falcon said. "That's why I went in the attic."
The magicians using online collaboration to push boundaries
Jennifer Lawrence attacks mass media again over body image
Jennifer Lawrence: 'It should be illegal to call someone fat on TV'
Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
Ian Watkins: Police probed over earlier allegations as paedophile Lostprophets singer sentenced to 35 years for child sex offences
DNA from a 50,000 year old toe shows Neanderthals were highly inbred
Devyani Khobragade: India-US row escalates over arrest of diplomat in New York
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
You can STILL be jailed for being a republican, government confirms, and it remains illegal to even 'imagine' overthrowing the Queen
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
Fighting back: the woman giving a voice (and 49,999 others) to the victims of sexism - by giving an airing to their horror stories
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
Ethan Couch: Texas quadruple murderer – or a victim of ‘affluenza’?
- 1 America's 'virgin births'? One in 200 mothers 'became pregnant without having sex'
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber 'retiring from music'
- 5 Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
- < Previous
- Next >
£30000 - £38001 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: A highly respecta...
£45 - £55 per day: Randstad Education Newcastle: Level 3 Teaching Assistant in...
£21500 - £40000 per day: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education is th...
£60000 - £75000 per annum + Bonus and Benefits: Harrington Starr: A leading au...