Update: According to the Denver Post, 6-year-old Falcon Heene of northern Colorado was found alive at his home after a long ordeal. Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden told media in Fort Collins that Heene "was found in a box in the attic above the garage."
The boy was believed to have climbed into a hot-air balloon and floated away Thursday as officials quickly scrambled to
figure out how to rescue him. With viewers watching on TV around the world, the balloon later landed in a field and was surrounded by rescue crews, but the child was not found inside.
Fox News reports that Heene is the son of Richard Heene, a Colorado weather-chaser whose family has been in the public eye before. According to The New York Times, "The Denver Post ran a 2007 feature on
Richard Heene, describing him as an 'amateur scientist' and a storm
chaser who works with a former television meteorologist Scott Stevens
for The Science Detectives." The Heene family has twice appeared on the ABC series "Wife Swap," in episodes that originally aired on Oct. 3, 2008 and
March 13, 2009.
The hot air balloon is apparently the property of Richard Heene and his wife. According to Fox:
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Cathy Davis of
the Larimer County Sheriff's Department told reporters the balloon was
owned by the boy's parents and tethered behind the family's home. She
said two sons were playing outside when the older boy saw the younger
one go into a compartment at the bottom of the balloon and fly away.
"We'll just have to respond the best we can," Davis told reporters at the time. "This is a first and we'll do what we need to do.
After the discovery of the young boy in his garage, Sheriff Alderden tried to put to rest any suspicions that the boy's parents may have staged the event as some sort of publicity stunt. "They thought he was missing," Alderden said to reporters.