Balloon Boy

So. Picture it. You're sitting around watching TV when the evening news breaks in and reports a helium filled balloon has broken loose and is flying away. But not just any old balloon, one that's been made to look like a flying saucer. Folks are glued to their sets, watching the drama unfold. The balloon rises higher and higher, zipping along faster and faster. Then someone says their son is on board, trapped in the canopy. Suddenly things take on a whole other dimension. Then a sheriff's deputy says they saw something fall from the balloon and the whole thing has the makings of a tragedy. Helicopters from the local news agencies pursue the balloon, alongside local law enforcement. A military chopper is called in to see if they can mount a rescue. But before any of that can happen, the balloon falls to the ground and crashes in a field. There is nobody on board. A frantic search ensues for the boy that was supposed to be inside. After a few hours, he shows up. He had been hiding in the family's attic the whole time.

If this all sounds like one of those cheesy reality shows, you're not far off. The Heene family is apparently all too familiar with them, having starred on Wife Swap. The father is apparently an amateur storm chaser and fringe scientist, when he's not hamming it up for ABC TV. Yes, they really did call in a blackhawk helicopter to try and rescue the kid they thought was inside. Yes, they really did have to ground flights at Denver International. The balloon is said to have reached heights of 8-15 thousand feet. So was this all a real tragedy that never came to pass, or was it a massive hoax?

At this point in time, with all that's been coming out about this in the last day or two, my money is on hoax. First, the kid gets interviewed by CNN. When his father prompts him to answer, the kid says "you said we did this for a show". The father of course denies this. Second, video footage has surfaced of the balloon sitting tethered to the ground moments before the whole thing got started. The father counts down and then for some odd reason yells at one of his other sons saying they forgot to tie down some other tether. The balloon flies off. No sign of the little boy. It seems the local sheriff also thinks it was a hoax as they have now served warrants to search the home for some reason. The family is also now dodging the press they initially went running to.

It's not clear yet what the charges will be, but I'm willing to bet it won't just be a slap on the wrist for a phony 911 call. Considering the incident grounded traffic at Denver International, it wouldn't be out of the question for the Feds to show up with charges of their own. Whatever ends up happening, these boobs need to be slapped with the bill and whacked upside the head for wasting everyone's time on their stupid little stunt.
"It is pointless to resist, my son." -- Darth Vader
"Resistance is futile." -- The Borg
"Mother's coming for me in the dragon ships. I don't like these itchy clothes, but I have to wear them or it frightens the fish." -- Thurindil

Well. I guess that's that then.

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Posted on Oct 18, 2009 12:41 am by Samson in: | 4 comment(s) [Closed]
I lol'd

Actually, I watched this unfold on AP too and in the end, I also laughed about it and told my wife that someone was likely going to jail over it, even if only briefly. But, ultimately, I'm a little surprised that it showed up on your radar well enough to surface here, I figured with all the politics in play currently, both world-wide and in the mud arena, you'd be busy enough elsewhere to have altogether overlooked this little escapade.. pretty good job of summarizing though.

Tragically this made headlines here in Aussie land. I laughed pretty hard about it, like pranks are one thing and it would have been a great prank, but calling the cops yourself is just plain dumb. You leave those sorts of things to the neighbors to do.

Hi Everyone, :)

Bye Everyone. :)

One of my friends has his IM status set to something about "it's a good thing they found balloon boy, I was starting to think Michael Jackson had ordered take-out"...

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