On Thursday, October 15th, the Heene family’s worst nightmare came true, their 6-year-old son went missing. After frantically searching the house, their other son, Bradford, told the parents that Falcon (also known as “Balloon Boy”) told him that he was going to “sneak inside” the family’s weather balloon. Assuming that their young son was trapped inside the balloon, the family went into a frenzy of panic. They had no idea what to do or who to call. The father, Richard Heene, said:
“And then I asked Bradford to get on the roof – I put a ladder on the roof – and I said keep watching and find out where [the balloon]’s going so we can report this. And I just pictured little Falcon inside, you know, being frightened and cold. What if he fell out? And, of course, the high voltage supply that we have on board, if he had touched that, he could have been electrocuted.”
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After being tracked by military helicopters for about 50 miles through two counties, the balloon finally landed safely on the ground. But the biggest shock to the Heene family was just about to come. The boy wasn’t in the balloon.
“Oh, man, when when the police officers came in and closed the door and wanted to tell me something, and he paused, and I thought, ‘This can’t be good,’ and then he said it hit the ground and there was nobody in it…. And I immediately thought he had fallen out. And I was crushed, you know. Completely drained me, he said. “What was really horrible is the images going through my mind, scenarios that could have been played out. And the hardest part was visualizing him falling out and hitting the ground.”
Parents who have experienced this type of panic often turn to high tech child tracking devices like GPS trackers or child locators to help enhance their supervision. A GPS tracker could have accurately pinpointed the child’s whereabouts without having to go through this insane ordeal. Thankfully the Heene family was able to locate their boy, who was hiding in the attack at home all along. A shocking twist to the story was that when the boy was asked why he didn’t respond to his parents calling out for him, he said,
“You guys [his parents] said we did this for the show.”
That day, the family was being taped for a reality television show called “Wife Swap” and was being followed around by a camera crew that day. Which means it really could have just been a hoax and only a publicity stunt for the show… or really a parent’s worst nightmare.
(Via CBS News)