UPDATE: "Balloon Boy" found alive, at home - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: "Balloon Boy" found alive, at home

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. (WKOW) -- A 6 year-old Colorado boy who authorities feared had floated off in a helium balloon constructed in his backyard was found safe at his home, hiding in a cardboard box in the attic above his garage.

Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderman turned to reporters during a Thursday afternoon news conference, gave a "thumbs up" sign and said, "He's at the house."

Sheriff Alderden said an investigator on the scene saw the boy and that the boy was fine. He said the boy apparently has been in the attic the whole time.

The boy's brother had said he saw 6 year-old Falcon Heene get in the balloon before it took off. The flight last two hours and spanned 50 miles and set off a frantic search.

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. (WKOW) -- Larimer County sheriff's official: Boy may have climbed into box attached to balloon, but that basket was not found at crash site.

 

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FORT COLLINS, CO (WKOW) -- An experimental balloon originally thought to be carrying a 6 year-old Colorado boy landed near Denver Thursday afternoon after a two-hour flight, but first responders did not find the boy aboard the aircraft.

Sheriff's Department officials initially believed that a 6 year-old boy had climbed into the 20-foot aircraft and floated away from his family's backyard in Fort Collins, Colorado.

The aircraft landed and was met by sheriff's officials, who tethered the balloon, punctured it, and found no one aboard.

The boy was reportedly last seen by his older brother, who claimed he was climbing into the aircraft's access door moments before it floated away; however, Larimer County sheriff's spokeswoman Eloise Campanella said the balloon's basket was not breached, and the boy was not in it.

Local and federal officials tracked the balloon's path about 40 miles north of Denver. The aircraft, a 20-foot-long, dome-shaped aircraft covered with foil, was built by the boy's father, Richard Heene, who said he was designing an aircraft for commuter travel.

As millions of people watched video footage of the balloon floating over the Colorado plains on TV and streaming on the internet (including live on WKOWTV.com), the aircraft appeared to be visibly deflating, spinning and rocking side to side.

Richard Heene, a storm chaser and scientist, and his wife Mayumi Heene twice appeared on the ABC show "Wife Swap."

When reached at the family home before the aircraft was recovered on the ground, Richard Heene was crying and said he was not watching television images of the silver "low altitude vehicle" flying over Colorado. He said he was praying and waiting for an update from police.

Sheriff's spokesperson Kathy Davis told reporters that Richard Heene was inside his home and was told by his older son that the balloon took off with Falcon.

 The FAA and Army National Guard tracked the balloon before it returned to the ground. The Army National Guard said it sent a helicopter to monitor the aircraft, and the Colorado National Guard sent up a Kiowa UH-58 helicopter, "deployed to locate the balloon."

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. (WKOW) -- A balloon supposedly carrying a 6-year-old boy has landed in a field in Colorado, but the fate of the child remains unclear.

Police are now saying there was no one inside the craft.

A sheriff's department official told CNN at first they were concerned the boy may have fallen out but now they say that because the basket was in tact, it does not appear he fell out.

Since the disappearance, authorities have also been searching the boy's home and his neighborhood to find him.

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) -- A 6-year-old boy climbed into a homemade balloon aircraft and floated away Thursday, forcing officials to scramble to figure out how to rescue the boy.

Live footage from a local TV helicopter showed the balloon gliding quickly through the air.

Larimer County sheriff's spokeswoman Eloise Campanella says the device, which is shaped like a flying saucer, has the potential to rise to 10,000 feet. Sheriff's officials last saw the device floating south of Milliken, which is about 40 miles north of Denver.

Campanella says the 6-year-old climbed into the access door and was in the airborne device.

FAA spokesman Mike Fergus says the agency has been notified and it was unclear whether traffic controllers had picked it up on radar. 

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