A six-year-old American boy feared trapped in an out-of-control balloon has been found alive and well, if a little embarrassed. Falcon Heene was safe all the time, but sparked a full-scale emergency search across the state of Colorado, after his brother and a neighbour thought he was in the balloon when it broke loose and floated away.
“He videotaped it and we watched it back and, sure enough, he got in,” said Falcon’s father Richard. “But, obviously, he got out. So, we don’t know. He said he was hiding in the attic, because I yelled at him… I’m really sorry I yelled at him. He scared the heck out of us.” The home-made balloon drifted 100 kms from Falcon’s home, sometimes more than 2000 metres above the ground. Police helicopters tracked it all the way. Falcon, meanwhile, was hiding in the garage at home, knowing he would have to face the music. “I didn’t want to come out really soon, or else he’d yell at me and I’d probably get in trouble,” he said. Falcon’s father is an amateur scientist and storm chaser, and built the balloon as part of a family project. The whole Heene family has been involved in his interests over the years, Falcon perhaps a little too closely.