24 Dec 2009

Prison sentence for balloon dad

3:55 pm on 24 December 2009

A man who triggered a major alert in Colorado by claiming his son was adrift in a helium balloon, has been sentenced to 90 days in prison.

Richard Heene and his wife reported on 15 October that their son had been carried away by the balloon. The ensuing media drama spread around the world before Falcon Heene, aged six, was found hiding at home.

Appearing in court on Wednesday, Heene apologised to rescue personnel and the community.

He and his wife pleaded guilty to charges that they carried out the balloon stunt to promote a reality TV show.

The judge also ordered four years of supervised probation for Heene and banned him from receiving any form of financial benefit from the case.

Mayumi Heene was sentenced to 20 days of community service.