FORT COLLINS, Colo. – A 6-year-old boy was found hiding in a cardboard box in his family’s garage Thursday after being feared aboard a homemade helium balloon that hurtled 50 miles through the sky on live television.
The discovery marked a bizarre end to a saga that started when the giant silvery balloon floated away from the family’s yard Thursday morning, sparking a frantic rescue operation that involved military helicopters and briefly halted some departures from Denver International Airport.
Then, more than two hours after the balloon gently touched down in a field with no sign of the boy, Sheriff Jim Alderden turned to reporters during a news conference, gave a thumbs up and said 6-year-old Falcon Heene was at his house.
The confusion over whether the boy was in the balloon arose as the family tinkered with the craft Thursday and Falcon’s father scolded him for getting inside a compartment. He said Falcon’s brother saw him inside the compartment and that’s why they mistakenly thought he was aboard the balloon when it launched.