‘Balloon Boy’ Family Appeared on ‘Wife Swap’

The Heene Family on 'Wife Swap' (ABC)

The Heene Family on 'Wife Swap' (ABC)

UPDATE: Falcon Heene has been found alive. The six-year-old boy was found hiding in a box in the attic of his family’s Colorado home, according to authorities.

“I played with my toys and took a nap,” Falcon told reporters outside his home Thursday.

The riveting story of a runaway ‘flying saucer’ captivated television viewers Thursday afternoon, as authorities believed a little boy was trapped inside the homemade Mylar-coated helium balloon.

After drifting for nearly two hours and 60 miles, the balloon crash-landed in a field near Keenesburg, Colo., and was found empty inside, CNN affiliate KMGH reports.

A massive search began for six-year-old Falcon Heene, whose parents were reportedly “hysterical” when he went missing. A sibling told police the boy climbed into the craft’s small compartment and untied the rope, which was tethered to his family’s home in Ft. Collins, Colo. The balloon, traveling approximately 25 mph, soared across the Colorado sky at elevations of over 7,000 feet.

“At this point, we are thinking that he did not fall out of the balloon and is somewhere on the ground,” Larimer County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Eloise Campanella said. “The basket itself was not breached. It does not look like he fell out of it, but again, this is all conjecture.”

The boy’s family appeared on an episode of ABC’s ‘Wife Swap‘ in October 2008.

Richard Heene, 45, a storm chaser and scientist who built the experimental aircraft, and his wife Mayumi, 43, have three sons: Bradford, 9, Ryo, 8, and Falcon, 6. The family, described as “science obsessed” and “risk-taking,” returned for the reality series’ 100th episode in March, which ABC claimed was “destined to become a classic.”

According to ABC’s web site, “When the Heene family aren’t chasing storms, they devote their time to scientific experiments that include looking for extraterrestrials and building a research-gathering flying saucer to send into the eye of the storm.”

The site also claims “the family sleeps in their clothes so they can leap from bed and run after a storm.”


The Heene's Homemade Helium Balloon (Photo: CNN)

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