I’m sitting here watching live local TV, the same story many of you may be following about the little boy in the runaway balloon. The difference is that all this is happening only a few miles from me.
A homemade helium balloon/aircraft escaped from the owner’s backyard with his 6-year-old son aboard. It has been aloft for several hours, drifting with the wind at 20-25 mph at an altitude, currently, of 6,000 feet.
I am absolutely terrified for the safety of the little boy. Even with very little wind, I don’t see how this thing is going to land without the boy being seriously injured, or worse. I’ve landed in a hot-air balloon on a good flying day, with a professional pilot, and it wasn’t pretty. We were in a very sturdy basket, but we still tipped over and dragged; it was rough. And this was after navigating over power lines and highways and coming down in an open field.
The craft is losing helium and coming down slowly — from 8,000 to 6,000 ft in the last hour. I hope it gets down before dark, or there will be no way to find it. And that little boy is going to need immediate medical attention.
Northbound departures from Denver International Airport are being rerouted because the balloon is in their path.
The little boy’s name is Falcon. I hope he can fly and land like one.
It’s on the ground. The balloon is down. It came down very gently, in a freshly plowed dirt field.
Oh dear God. The boy isn’t in the balloon.
Two hours later: I was assuming the worse when I stopped typing, but little Falcon was found alive and well — at home, hiding in a box in the attic above his family’s garage. He was never in the balloon, as his older brother had said. Apparently the two of them managed to let dad’s pet balloon project get loose and fly away, and knowing big trouble was sure to come, concocted the story.
Is it any wonder parents get gray hair?
And welcome home, Falcon, even though you never really left. We’re all so happy and relieved to have you back.
Two days later: It seems there might be more to the story.