Thursday, October 15, 2009
Breaking News: Little boy floats away in home made balloon.
FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- A 6-year-old boy is floating over northeastern Colorado in a homebuilt balloon and authorities are racing to try and rescue him.
The balloon, in the shape of a flying saucer is covered in foil and filled with helium. The craft's dimensions are 20-feet across and 5-feet high. It has a compartment for a passenger underneath. It lifted the boy into the air near Fort Collins Thursday morning after the balloon became unhooked at the boy's home.
"We were sitting eating, out looking where they normally shoot off hot air balloons. My husband said he saw something. It went over our rooftop. Then we saw the big round balloonish thing, it was spinning," said neighbor Lisa Eklund.
The father and son had apparently been working on the aircraft for some time..
Airtracker 7 located the craft at 12:35 p.m. at about 8,000 feet in Weld County. It appeared to be slightly tilted. The altitude of the balloon was fluctuating between 7,500 and 10,000 feet.
Skies in the area are partly cloudy and southwest wind speeds are 15 to 20 miles per hour.
Listen live to Colorado State Police tracking the balloon HERE.
"The structure at the bottom of the balloon that the boy is in is made of extremely thin plywood and won't withstand any kind of a crash at all," said Erik Nilsson, Larimer County Emergency Manager.
Deputies from Larimer and Weld counties are tracking the balloon as it drifts. Experts said it could remain airborne for up to 12 hours.
FAA spokesman Mike Fergus said the agency has been notified and it was unclear whether traffic controllers had picked it up on radar.
The balloon may drift into air traffic control corridors used by Denver International Airport, based on its current location and direction. Deputies alerted DIA air traffic controllers to warn them about letting aircraft fly through the area.
UPDATE: Balloon landed in Adams county. Child was not found in balloon. Public Safety officials are searching (backtracking) along balloons flight path searching for the child.