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Former two-time 'Wife Swap' family at center of "Balloon Boy" incident


By Christopher Rocchio, 10/15/2009 

Falcon Heene drew national television attention on Thursday when he was thought to be in a homemade helium balloon floating over Colorado, however it wasn't his first time on TV.

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The 6-year-old boy and his family had previously been featured on ABC's Wife Swap reality series -- originally appeared during an episode last fall before appearing again on the show's 100th episode in March.

Falcon -- the son of Richard and Mayumi Heene -- was feared to be inside a compartment in homemade helium balloon when it floated away from the family's Fort Collin, CO yard on Thursday morning, igniting a two-hour scramble to recover it before any harm was done to the boy, The Associated Press reported.

However when the balloon subsequently landed in a field after traveling 50 miles, Falcon was nowhere to be found, and Sheriff Jim Alderden eventually told reporters it was because the boy was actually in the rafters at his family's garage.

"Apparently he's been there the whole time," Sheriff Jim Alderden told reporters, according to The AP.

The incident began Thursday morning when Richard scolded his son after one of his brothers saw him inside the compartment, according to The AP, which added Falcon then climbed a pole in the garage and hid in a cardboard box up in the rafters.

The balloon subsequently launched and the family feared Falcon was inside when he couldn't be found anywhere on the family's property.

"I was in the attic and he scared me because he yelled at me," Falcon told reporters, according to The AP. "That's why I went in the attic."

Richard called the incident a "mishap" because the balloon wasn't tethered properly and said he's "not going to lay blame on anybody" -- except for maybe himself.

"I yelled at him. I'm really sorry I yelled at him," Richard told reporters, according to The AP.

The Heene family appeared on Wife Swap's 100th episode as one of two families that won an abc.com poll which asked viewers to vote for two former Wife Swap families they'd liked to see appear on the show again. 

ABC had previously billed the family as "storm chasers."

The family of a 6-year-old boy who set off a nationally televised scramble when he was thought to be in a balloon over Colorado has been featured twice in the ABC show "Wife Swap."

Authorities said Falcon, the son of Richard and Mayumi Heene of Fort Collins, Colo., was safe at home where he had been hiding the whole time.



(Photo credit ABC)


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