Oct 142009
Authors: Collegian Staff Report

The 6-year-old boy believed to have floated across northeastern Colorado in a makeshift helium balloon has been found alive at his home in a box in the attic.

With a smile on his face, the Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden said teams searched the house twice but “obviously didn’t search thoroughly enough.”

He said children always get scared when they find out people are looking for them and hide.

Falcon Heene’s brother said he saw Falcon climb into a battery compartment attached to the bottom of the homemade aircraft at about 11 a.m. before it became untethered from the backyard of his Fort Collins home.

The craft drifted nearly 60 miles over the course of two hours at altitudes near 8,000 feet before landing in a dirt field north of Denver International Airport near Platteville without the battery compartment or the boy.

The craft was a mylar dome 20 feet long by 5 feet high. Mylar is the same material used in grocery store balloons.

The boy’s father, Richard Heene, is a known storm chaser and was building the craft himself. CNN reported that the balloon was never intended to float more than 20 feet in the air.

The Heene family was featured on the 100th episode ABC’s television show WifeSwap in March.

According to the show’s Web site, the Heene family “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.”

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