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Posted by on Oct 15, 2009 in Breaking News | 17 comments

Americans Hope and Pray as a Silvery Balloon Speeds Across the Skies of Colorado

I am sure most of our readers were glued to the television sets for almost two hours this afternoon, hoping and praying for the safety and life of 6-year-old Falcon Heene, if he happened to be aboard the ill-fated silvery balloon.

We all held our breath when the balloon more-or-less-gently touched down in a field, and while the rescuers and emergency personnel searched for the boy and, at the time we thought, fortunately, did not find the boy inside.

As I am writing this, the frantic search efforts and the stories and the rumors continue.

There are reports of a basket, or a box, being attached to the balloon and that someone saw “something” fall from the balloon. There is even a picture showing a dark dot at some distance underneath the balloon.

According to the Austin American-Statesman, a few minutes ago:

Larimer County sheriff’s spokeswoman Kathy Messick said one of the boy’s two older brothers saw 6-year-old Falcon Heene get into a box that was attached to the balloon with pegs. The box was not found when the balloon landed; several people reported seeing something fall from the balloon while it was in the air.

I hope that the boy wasn’t aboard any such basket, and that he will still be found alive and well.

What intrigues me is the following:

I have to assume that the boy’s parents were—probably accompanied by authorities—watching the same pictures of the balloon flight we were watching, clearly showing no basket, no anything underneath the balloon.

Why didn’t they immediately tell the authorities that the basket was no longer there, so that search and rescue efforts could immediately start along the route of the balloon, and precious minutes, even hours, would not be wasted tracking the flight of an empty balloon.

I an sure we’ll soon know the answers. But, what is really important is that young Falcon will still be found alive and well. All else is unimportant at this moment.

UPDATE: I have just heard that young Falcon has been found safe and sound. Thank God.

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  • He was apparently hiding in the attic of his own home, fearful of getting in trouble for letting the balloon get loose. Odd.. you’d think the officials would have done a through search of the home before spreading out across the county. But at least he’s safe. Interestingly, the family is apparently very much into teaching science as a hobby and involve the children. So while this turned out to be a near tragedy, they are at least getting their kids out and interested in science and something besides video games and television. Hopefully they will be more careful with their balloons in the future, though.

  • Father_Time

    Sort of anti-climactic this one. Good news though.

    I must say, this “balloon”, looked suspiciously like one of those UFO flying saucers. maybe a follow up on this might reveal a government conspiracy or two. What a delight that would be. How big could this thing be, that people believed it could carry away a six year old kid? Surely it could have easily been confused as some UFO flying whatever under certain conditions.

  • Can one even imagine the range of emotions his parents went through this day?. . .This family will never forget this day and will be told for generations. . .so glad it turned out as it did. . .

  • troosvelt_1858

    Now we are getting stories that this may have been a PR stunt by his dad……

    • Patrick, I was watching an update on that just this morning. When Larry King interviewed them, the “missing” boy answered a question about whether or not he heard the parents calling for him and why he didn’t come down by saying to his father, “You said we were doing this for the show.” Apparently this family was on Wife Swap (whatever reality show that is) previously, so questions certainly remain.

  • DdW

    Is it just me who has the following question?Here we have the parents of young Falcon watching the entire two-hour “chase scene” along with, I assume, police and perhaps even aviation esxperts in the same room, in the same house.Here is the father who built the contraption, including the “cupcake” undernetah, seeing from very clear TV images that the cover to get into he “cupcake”—the only way to get into it—obvioulsy and clearly had not been “breached” in any way, indicating that no one could have gone inside.Also knowing that there was no box or basket attached.The question begs, why allow this drama to go on for a two full hours, putting other people’s safety in danger (helicopter pilots, etc.) and not tell authorities that there was no way the boy could be in the balloon, and IF there had been a basket or box, concentrate the search and rescue efforts on tthe very early stages of the flight, when the boy, or the entire basket, could have dropped off the balloon.I don’t know…perhaps I am making too much of this one element of the drama.

  • rudi

    It appears to be a hoax. I hope the parents get all legal repercussions for this BS.

  • DLS

    “most of our readers were glued to the television sets”


    “We all held our breath”


    No, “we” [sic] didn’t.

    Plenty of us didn’t even learn about this story until late in the day. Our lives don’t involve teevee, nor silly, stupid trivia like this. We weren’t holding our breath, we weren’t fixated or obscessed with this trivial event, and we weren’t crying in anguish, or otherwise making complete idiots out of ourselves!

    • DdW

      ” Our lives don’t involve teevee, nor silly, stupid trivia like this. “Good for you, DLS, that you weren’t “making a complete idiot” of yourself, while the rest of us were, watching what we all thought was the life of a 6-year-old boy at risk.Do you have any children?Is this another Kennedy grave bet/prank?Thank you for your great comments.

  • DLS

    “Storm chasing” (typically, trying to encounter tornadoes) has already become silly to the point of ridicule; what kind of parent would take their kids with them either to find tornadoes, or into the eye of a hurricane, as this parent reportedly has done? Or make rap videos with them, or (back to more weird stuff) insist they accompany the guy with his finding space aliens or doing other paranormal-sci-fi faddishness?

    To redirect this to something appropriate on this site: The only question is, does they guy’s views run liberal or conservative, and which way does he vote, because the “lucky” group identified would gladly let the other have him.

  • DLS

    “Is this another Kennedy grave bet/prank?”

    No, and you shouldn’t overreact (or support sensationalism).

  • Dorian after listening to the long interview of the family last night by Wolf Blitzer i too reluctantly have suspicion after hearing Falcon make the statement when asked by his father as promted by Wolf Blitzer, why he did not respond to the voices calling him and his response “you said it was for the show.”

    Another thing that did not make sense was why would parents allow the media to have access to children so quickly and for so long after such a traumatic day?. . .Another question i had was what parent attempting a hoax would rely upon a child of six to not reveal the deception in a live interview?. . .It has been my experience children of that age are still intact enough to speak with honesty in situations that present authority to them such as a long media interview. . .

    in reply to DLS remark, sometimes there are stories that do captivate the Nation because the seize the heart. . .What parent could not emphasize with a young child such as this?. . .Remember Baby Jessica? I think there are some stories that reach into even the archetypal realms where we are drawn by the psyche in ways we cannot begin to understand with our put the bacon on the table lives.

    After hearing the interview with the family last night i lay awake and shifted through another world where Icarus (the one that would fly and touch the Sun) and Coyote (the Trickster) perhaps met in the sky through the imagination of a family’s psyche? I wondered what Dr. E. would say about the archetype of this incident or if it could be seen in this situation?

    Thanks Dorian for this story,there are many layers and complexities to ponder. . . .

    • DdW

      Thanks, OS.Since you bring up Baby Jessica, yes I have to admit that, then too, I was glued to the TV set, to that “silly, stupid trivia,” making a complete idiot of myself, while instead I could have been involved with much more important matters such as insulting and belittling those with different political persuasions.You see, then I had a daughter about the same age as Baby Jessica, and today I have a little grandson, an association, yesterday, that caused very profound emotions to well up in me.How silly. How stupid of me!

      • Dorian that is the best part of you. . .i don’t know how you managed to do it, but in my eyes you are truly an exception, to have lived through the pursuit of your intellectual biography and still continue to have heart and such goodness truly blew all my stereotypes of a long term military guy. . .reading your columns i look at the military different than my previous narrow view. . .Thanks for shattering my frame. . .

  • DLS

    “What parent could not emphasize with a young child such as this?”

    I have had children in my life, younger than the youngest one of the family involved.

    That, and the involvement of a child in this story, is not the point.

    The real issue (and would be the correct object of note if everyone were emotionally mature and intellectually honest) was the ridiculous sensationalism (and media hype of what should have remained a local story, not national news). As I correctly wrote about a gay-bashing story in a recent thread elsewhere on this site, that event is not national news, sadly, because there is no balloon or aircraft with a malfunctioning nose gear (nothing shocking, nor was the eventual landing), or a vehicle being chased by police, that could be deliberately hyped for spectacle, used for sensationalism (and directed at the too susceptible!), ideally for hours, as this event was.

  • DdW

    “The real issue,” and what IS “the point of this story,” is that, during the entire two hours when this drama was unfoldong, there was, in the minds and hearts of every American (perhaps with the exception of DLS) at stake the life of 6-year-old child.Every American who was watching was, I am sure, hoping and praying for that little boy to survive.All else, including trying to turn those two hours into political, social, or whatever monday-morning-quarterbacking fodder is pure crap.

  • DLS


    Well, you almost got things right this time.

    The real issue was that the irresponsible media turned this trivial local event into another Super Bowl, a reality-teevee suspense drama.

    (The media behavior in particular, never mind the worst public silliness, in fact is the second most important issue and the second news story other than the event itself and how badly it was handled — and if the tendency to do stupid things like this was known beforehand and exploited as part of a hoax.)

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