‘Balloon Boy’ Saved! Or Staged?


Okay, so by now you have surely heard about a little 6 year old boy named Falcon Heene who was said to have flown away in a balloon, which set off an expensive search and rescue … only to turn out that the little boy was never in the balloon in the first place and was hiding in a box in the attic of his home:

The story started out humorous … then turned serious out of concern for the boy … then turned joyous once he was found safe and sound … and has now turned into very shady biz. Appearing on Larry King Live on CNN last night, mere moments after the boy was found unharmed, little Falcon was asked by guest host Wolf Blitzer why he didn’t come out of the attic when his parents called out his name looking for him. The little boy, with what looked to be a childlike innocence to tell the truth, admitted on live TV that his parents instructed him to hide because they were “doing it for ‘the show'” prompting his father to fidget and attempt to change the subject. Then this morning, the entire Heene family appeared on The Today Show and while his father was telling the story for the umpteenth millionth time, Falcon actually puked in his father’s lap … apparently even he is sick of hearing this story. So … was it a real incident or was it a hoax?

It was, apparently, a heartwarming tale — the 6-year-old Colorado boy who was reportedly carried aloft in a wayward helium balloon on Thursday, only to turn up several hours later after a frantic, widely televised search. Falcon Heene, fearful of being punished for messing around with his father’s balloon, had been hiding out above the garage at the family’s home in Fort Collins, Colo., his parents said. But on Thursday evening, after Falcon and his family appeared on CNN, discussion of the event online turned skeptical. The suspicions began after the family was interviewed by Wolf Blitzer — in the segment embedded below — and the young boy said that he had heard people in the house calling his name but had not responded because, he said to his parents, “You guys said… that, um, we did this for the show.” After Mr. Heene angrily denied that his son was admitting that the whole thing was a hoax, Mr. Blitzer quickly retreated, perhaps fearing that he would be accused of engaging in what is called “Gotcha journalism” with a six-year-old, saying, “I don’t want you to misunderstand, just asking the question doesn’t mean, Richard, that we are suggesting anything untoward or anything like that — we’re just thrilled that Falcon is alive and well.” He added, “I got to tell you personally, as a reporter who reported that he was alive and well, it was a thrilling moment for me.” People inclined to believe that Thursday’s balloon drama was a publicity stunt will want to see this raw video of Richard Heene explaining his “experiment” to reporters on Thursday night. In the video, published by 9news.com, the Web site of a Colorado television news station, Mr. Heene explained that his whole family was present when he launched the balloon and that he hopes that his invention can one day be used by commuters instead of cars. “It’s a low-altitude vehicle,” he said, “and we’re working on a way to perhaps get rid of modern vehicles, so we can just levitate, and go to work at fifty to a hundred feet, to and from work. And this works off a million volts to move horizontally. It uses helium to levitate, much like a blimp.” Then, after appearing to struggle with his emotions while recounting for the press the moment when one of his sons, Bradford, told him that his brother Falcon was inside the experimental vehicle when it took off, Mr. Heene regained his composure and thanked the media “for being kind to me.” One reporter then asked Mr. Heene what he thought his son meant when he told CNN he had hidden out for so long because it was “for the show.” Mr. Heene blamed the media for asking the local police about what he called “this publicity stunt crap.” He added that after “everything that I went through, everything my wife has gone through, I just find that just disgusting, its absolutely appalling to me, after all the crap that we went through, that they would say that. Getting back on track, Falcon is the key thing […] what I heard him say was something about you guys asking the same question about the attic […] so I thought he was talking about, when the garage door opened up and all the media was standing there and he was showing them how he got in.” At the very end of the news conference Mr. Heene — who called the 9news television channel for help on Thursday when he said he feared his son was floating away in the craft — told reporters that his family doesn’t watch television and “quite frankly for me its been a luxury not to have cable TV” … After the CNN interview on Thursday, Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden told The Associated Press that the boy’s comment on TV “has raised some questions.” “Our personnel who were dealing with the family all day are convinced this is a legitimate incident and this is not a hoax,” Mr. Alderden told The A.P. But with Falcon’s remark about “the show,” he said his investigators would “go back and further ask the family to cooperate with our investigation through answering more questions and resolve this issue” … On Friday morning, the family members appeared tired and emotional and on the “Today” show on NBC, Falcon vomited on camera.

The Heene family, who claim they don’t watch TV, have appeared on at least one reality TV show — Wife Swap. It’s entirely likely that this whole thing was staged. If you watch video of the interviews, you see that Richard Heene (the father) never really looks into the camera … his nervous and fidgety manner really makes it seem like he is not being truthful. The mother, Mayumi Heene, never offers anything of value and just seems to be going along with the circus. This entire matter seems so shady to me … especially considering that the entire thing was set in motion because the Heene family called the police (click HERE to hear the 911 call) and told them their child flew away in a flying saucer!!!! HELLOOOOOO!!!! After the jump, check out clips of the Heene family on Larry King Live and The Today Show — you make the call if they are lying on camera or not …

First, the CNN clip:

Here is the Today Show clip, watch the father’s reaction after his son pukes on his lap:

My gut tells me this is a hoax that prolly got way out of hand. Not that I want any more time and money spent on this bullshizz but if an investigation is launched and it is determined that this family tried to pull a fast one for 15 minutes of fame, I hope they are held accountable. In the end, I’m glad the little boy is safe … but I now worry about his future safety growing up with shady parents like these.


  • Taylor

    It has to be a hoax. The dad looks like he’s on drugs.

  • DJWhoop

    If it’s not a hoax, the minute I found out my kid was ok, I would beat his little ass.

  • teri

    They should be charged with all of the law enforcement expenditures that were used to chase down this B.S.

  • Meowzer

    This whole thing doesn’t say much for the police department in this area. Nobody searched the property, looked in the house or the garage? They just took the word of some children that their brother just “flew away”? The parents should have to pay back all the money the government spent looking for this little brat.

  • Denise

    I’m just thankful the little boy is okay. I think everyone should just move on from this, for the sake of the kid. He doesn’t need any more publicity.

  • kali

    I felt really uncomfortable watching his father stammer through that. lol. poor kid. Its a strange thing to teach a six year old to lie and be secretive for “the show” , especially when “the show” ends up making you look like a complete arse.

  • Another Taylor

    I really hope this is not a hoax. It’s unimaginable to me that parents would use their children as props in a staged bid for attention and fame. It’s sick. If this is a hoax, then the parents need some serious therapy.

  • Kim

    I think the kids should be taken away if this was a hoax. How f*cking stupid can you be? I feel bad because the children are so young still

  • Mela

    It’s a bizarre story and I don’t like to think the worst of people, but Trent, you’re right. This seems shady. On the lighter side, the look on the other two kids is hilarious in the vomit pic. Also, even Tony Danza gave up on that haircut Dad.

  • Kim

    The father seemed way too defensive in the Wolf Blitzer interview. Wolf asked a legit question – one that a lot of other people would have asked – and the father, after massively failing to even come close to answering the question, attacks Wolf for asking the question. He’s a journalist. If he DIDN’T ask that question, everyone else would have. Had the father actually tried to answer the question, maybe I would have believed him. Instead he just threw out random theories, refused to ask the kid what he meant, and lashed out at Wolf for asking a follow-up question in an interview. He didn’t have to do the interview. The family could have simply issued a statement and then refused to comment further until everyone lost interest. Instead, they went on CNN and the Today Show.

  • Jordan

    I believe 100% that that’s a hoax. Why would the little boy say that if it wasn’t? And he’s probably throwing up because he’s anxious and stressed from hiding things. This is completely ridiculous and it makes me sick. Those are some sick parents, man.

  • nae


  • Tosha

    I am glad to see someone else found it humorous at first, too. I first learned about this story in the car at lunch when the radio broadcast came out “boy flying above denver in flying saucer balloon”… I cant even begin to explain the laughter that resulted from that! My mind, nearly immediately, flashed to Orson Wells and War of the Worlds. Of course, then I started to think of what happened if he fell or if it crashed and it turned serious..
    I really do hope that the family didnt do this for publicity. The charges shouldnt necessarily go to the family considering law enforcement was camped out at the house for several hours while Falcon “hid” in the garage. I thought that was the first place authorities were supposed to look….
    While I can see most of the worlds view that the timing, so close to Halloween, and the shape of the “aircraft” seem almost too perfectly a hoax… I can also see a 6 year old getting confused. I know that kids spit out the truth, but they also confuse things often and, yet, still spit the words out as a truth. Think of it this way, any child will lie and say that “mommy says its ok” if they want candy or a toy.

  • novadame

    we don’t really know if it’s a hoax or not, and we probably never will know the truth on that. i think it’s harmful to speculate like this when in reality that little boy could have been confused about the question. he was on a tv show right at that moment, maybe that is what he was referring to when he said “for the show,” who knows. it does seem shady and that is a shame, but since i doubt we’ll ever know the truth anyway why not try to believe the best in people. and more importantly, since it’s suspected to be a hoax, lets stop talking about these people as that’s what they would be after. a little boy is safe with his family, end of story, no more media circus.

  • Ashlee

    I also kind of believe it was a hoax but what really gets me is that they really thought that a 20 by 5 helium balloon could carry away a 6 year old. Did no one pay attention in school? Or watch Mythbusters for that matter? On Mythbusters it took a helium balloon the size of an airport hangar to lift a very small child a few feet in the air.
    I don’t really care if it was a hoax or not as long as this does not cost taxpayers a single penny.

    • @Ashlee — Emergency rescue crews cost a lot of money, hoax or not whatever this was already cost the public tens of thousands of dollars.

  • Ama

    What’s sad about this is..What if this really happens now and something terrible happens to the boy? But the next time it happens, no one believes them because of this little stunt.
    sad stuff. The kid probably felt guilty for lying to so many people(Which is why he threw up) Well…I’m sure their 15 mins will be over soon.

  • Anne Marie

    Does anyone else out there think the dad is HOT, or is it just me? Maybe my hormones are just raging…ha! Weird, but hot.

  • Krissy

    I heard on NPR that they didn’t call the police first…the called the local news crew because they thought the news helicopters could locate the balloon. This is such a sham. I hope they get legally punished. They are seriously damaging that kid to make him lie like that. He knew it was wrong, that is why he spoke the truth, that is why he threw up. Poor thing.

  • Tosha

    I dont think the dad is hot..but I do think the inner natural hormones kicked in when the balloon landed and we all thought he was inside. Because the guy darting across the field to rescue the little fella suddenly became SUPER hot. I bet in real life he is not so much.. but in that moment of rescue my natural womanliness was VERY into the man who could potentially save the kid. haha.

  • worldgirl

    Some people will do ANYTHING to get attention but using a child to pull off a hoax like this is really stooping low.
    What is the lesson they are teaching those kids? That it is OK to lie as long as you get to be on TV?
    Booking them on various shows only validates that.

  • Tumbles

    You can tell just by the way the father asks him “why didn’t you come out?” that it’s fake. He sounds like he practiced the question with the boy or something. Just doesn’t seem real to me.

  • Meghan

    This is fake. However, what’s shameful is the media’s obsession with this story!!! Helloo?? We have real problems going on here!

  • SuziLee

    OMG this was beyond fake…. and I’m with whoever it was who said that the dad needs to give up that haircut – like Tony Danza did! : ) @Meghan – the media’s obsession is mostly because of all the wacky twists & turns this thing too – omg is he ok? to omg he never was in there! to hmm this is some shady shady sh*t goin down & this family is wacked!

  • Totally a hoax.

  • JillieBean

    I don’t believe the father that they do not watch television because this just reminds me too much of the episode of the Simpsons when Bart put a walkie talkie down the well and everyone thought there was a child trapped in there…. Just saying…

  • Chris

    That kid looked exhausted and sick in the second clip. I’m guessing it’s because he was forced to stay up all night being coached to lie. Any decent parent would cancel the interview if their child was in that poor of condition. Nope, these folks just packed the barf bucket & towel and were ready to roll. I hope CPS keeps a close eye on them.

  • Jen

    How is this different than John and Kate or the Duggars or any other reality show that features kids?

    Everyone is in an uproar but how many of them watch these reality shows for entertainment? It’s bad for the kids no matter how you look at it. The public is just feeding people like this.

  • Meghan

    @ JillieBean LOL!!! I had the same thought!

  • Bee

    @ JillieBean & Meghan. I TOTALLY THOUGHT IT AT FIRST. I was laughing the whole time I watched it up there because all I could think of was “I bet he’s not even in there, like Bart”. And lo and behold, I was right.

  • Chivonne

    I saw the that interview this morning. It was a repeat so they cut out when the kid threw up. I had no idea! the poor thing. When I saw this earlier the kids looked exhausted. Falcon was asleep he obviously couldn’t keep his eyes open and the other kid next to the mother was sleeping as well. I really feel bad for the kids and the stupid mother for not saying NO.

  • Alice

    Poor little kid… whether or not it’s a hoax, it’s stressing him out to the point that he has to puke… why didn’t they stop the cameras to take care of him? Such nonsense to even cover this to that extent.


    I want to know how that balloon thingy got launched in the first place? Did they get it down?

  • maribella

    ugh. i really hope he didn’t go apeshizz on the kid when they got home.
    someone needs to investigate those people.

  • Megan

    i totally remember the episode of wife swap this family was on.. they were extremely odd on there as well.

  • Kristy

    Child Protective Services is on it. Good.

  • Liz

    I am glad the kid is ok, hoax or not, but can you imagine? He will forever be known as the balloon boy.

  • HW

    what disturbs me the most i think is the today show interview. something is so eerie about this family, especially that dad. and the way he’s so shifty and nervous, and then the look of repulsion at his kid’s sickness is disturbing.

    and in the wolf blitzer interview, right after the kid drops the bomb, it’s so weird how the dad says “yeah..” in a panicked sort of way, but then the mom goes “no” while staring intently at the kid. creepy!

  • Holly

    I remember seeing this family on the show wifeswap, and that dad was an absolute nut. The way they kept the kids sleeping in clothes because they might have to chase a storm and what not. Then at the end the dad sang a song to the wife he had for 2 weeks about how she changed him, and yet the whole time of the show he was a douche bag to her. He was always contradicting himself. It’s such a hoax. Those parents are super sketchy.

  • katie

    kanye says “yo balloon boy, imma let you finish, but anne frank had the best attic hiding spot of all time”

    funny, but i can’t take credit.

  • ly

    the poor boy is exhausted! whether it’s a hoax or not, they should at least give him a break.

  • Kara

    This whole story is crap. I saw one of the two wife swap episodes this fam was on…the dad is a nutcase-and that little Falcon kids reply to the “new moms” rules was F that…no joke. If you can, try to find the episode online and it becomes pretty obvious this whole stunt was for attention. Plus…these people claim to not even watch TV, yet they’ve been on a reality show twice!?! Seems a bit odd, eh?

  • Rebecca

    The fact that they take their children with them when they chase a storm and put them in Harms Way shows they are abusive parents Do they even go to school?. Other storm chasers leave their children at home. I hope Childrens Protective Services will be involved. This is absolutely a hoax and they will be charged.

  • ck

    HOAX. Only because after Falcon said “We did this for the show,” neither parent asked their son to explain what he meant, because they didn’t want their son to say anything more. And I think he threw up because he’s stressed, too. To sad.

  • c-word

    this is totally a hoax! i’m sorry, but if i thought that one of my kids was in a balloon, flying at 50ft in the sky, my first thought would NOT be – “let’s call the news.” plus, i read something about how the father said that they don’t even watch tv, yet they were on that ‘wife swap’ show no too long ago… it sounds like someone’s trying to get one more minute of fame. too bad =/