16 Oct 2009

Balloon boy found hiding in attic at home

3:39 pm on 16 October 2009

A six-year-old boy thought to have been carried away by a helium balloon in the American state of Colorado was in fact hiding in a box in an attic at home, according to an official.

Larimer county sheriff Jim Alderden told reporters that apparently Falcon Heene had "been there the whole time".

Police had been searching for the boy after his brother said he thought Falcon had taken off with the balloon, the BBC reports.

The drama was played out on television, with networks devoting their airtime to live footage of the balloon over Colorado.

The empty balloon eventually landed in fields and was surrounded by rescue vehicles after a two-hour flight.

Police searched on the ground in the direction in which the balloon flew, as well as the neighbourhood where the family lives.

But Mr Alderden then announced that the boy had been found alive and well in a box in the attic of his family's house. He said the house had been searched twice, but the search had not been thorough enough. Police had questioned the brother repeatedly.

The boy's father, Richard Heene, apparently used the balloon to track the weather and said he had been angry with Falcon for climbing into a compartment in the tethered balloon on Thursday before the balloon was accidentally released.