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10 Years On From 'Balloon Boy' Incident, Family Deny It Was A Hoax

10 Years On From 'Balloon Boy' Incident, Family Deny It Was A Hoax

Remember the couple from Colorado who insisted that their six-year-old son was trapped, floating in a balloon that they'd made? The 'Balloon Boy' - let us call him by his name - saga was ten years ago now, but no doubt you can remember the balloon - which was shaped to resemble a UFO.

The story of Falcon Heene - Balloon Boy himself - sparked concern among emergency services as it gained international attention. Helicopters and police pursued the balloon over a 50-mile distance, fearing for the young lad's safety.

However, it turned out that Falcon had been hiding in the couple's attic the whole time - leading people to suspect the whole thing was a hoax.

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The kid's parents, inventor Richard Heene and his wife Mayumi, served jail time and received hefty fines for their actions. Ten years later, however, they say the story wasn't actually a lie and they truly thought their son was inside the 'flying saucer'.

At the time, the headline-garnering incident was suggested to be a means to get publicity for a vehicle he had designed, which he said people could 'pull out of their garage and hover above traffic'.

The family had already appeared on reality TV show Wife Swap, leading some people to suggest they had staged the stunt to gain fame and further TV opportunities.

Speaking to Good Morning America, Richard discussed the way he and his family had been portrayed, saying: "This is another hit piece, which I anticipated. What would be nice is if the media could actually go, 'Yeah, Richard's got a point.' But it's so biased."

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Falcon's dad, inventor Richard Heene was sentenced to 90 days in jail and 100 hours of community service. Credit: Good Morning America
Falcon's dad, inventor Richard Heene was sentenced to 90 days in jail and 100 hours of community service. Credit: Good Morning America

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The fire was further fuelled when Mayumi 'confessed' that the couple had made it all up - although she told GMA that she only did so to avoid being deported to Japan.

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Things were made even worse after an interview with Wolf Blitzer on Larry King Live the same evening - when asked why he had been hiding, Falcon said to his father, "You guys said that, um, we did this for the show."

Ouch.

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But still, Richard maintains their innocence and agreed that he feels the need to 'clear his name'.

He added: "I've lost a lot of opportunities. I've had people contact me about things I've invented and [it] went south because they find out who I am. And the thing that gets me is the media never tells my side of the story."

Now 16, Falcon has formed a heavy metal band with his brothers and helps out with his dad's handyman business.

But despite their band having a song titled 'Balloon Boy No Hoax', his brother Bradford said: "We don't really want to associate ourselves with that. We just want to rock out."

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Can't argue with that, can you?

Featured Image Credit: Good Morning America

Topics: US News, Weird

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Amelia Ward

Amelia is a journalist at LADbible. After studying journalism at Liverpool John Moores and Salford Uni (don't ask), she went into PR and then the world of music. After a few years working on festivals and events, she went back to her roots. In her spare time, Amelia likes music, Liverpool FC, and spending good, quality time with her cat, Paul. You can contact Amelia at [email protected]