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Online video reveals odd family behind 6-year-old connected to runaway helium balloon



Balloon (UPDATE: Balloon is down, no boy inside. Question now: did he fall out? And if so, how high was he when it happened?)

Even as cable TV newschannels fixate on the horrifying emergency of a 6-year-old boy who allegedly crawled into a homemade helium balloon before it unexpectedly floated away, online outlets such as Twitter and Facebook have filled up with links offering information of the background of the boy's parents.

Turns out the boy, named Falcon, was observed by a sibling crawling into a small compartment in the balloon, according to a press conference aired minutes ago on MSNBC. CNN is reporting that authorities still can't confirm if a child is actually aboard, but MSNBC just aired a press conference with police who claimed to have talked with the boy's family.

Heenefmaily  Seems his father, Richard Heene, is a storm chaser who co-hosts an Internet TV series on science with its own Web site and MySpace page. If you look on the Web site for the show, you will see a clip from the ABC show Wife Swap featured on E!'s comedy show The Soup, where he gets into a seriously bizarre argument with the woman living in his home.

The father also says he has driven a motorcycle outfitted with instruments into a mesocyclone as part of his storm chasing activities. What may be most remarkable, that all this background was made available to viewers via Twitter and Facebook.

The familys bio, from ABC's Wife Swap Web site: "When the Heene family aren't chasing storms, they devote their time to scientific experiments that include looking for extraterrestrials and building a research-gathering flying saucer to send into the eye of the storm. In this ultimate swap, the Heenes swap lives with a psychic mom who speaks to the dead and can control the weather, her husband and her children -- who believe they are destined to be stars. This show will feature aliens, punk rockers, past-life regression and, for the first time ever, the children from the two families will face off in a kids' table meeting. "Heene/Silver," the 100th episode of Wife Swap, destined to become a classic."

The balloon has landed moments ago, and the cable TV newschannels lucked out -- a soft landing in a soft field, allowing the channels to avoid showing a 6-year-old's death on live television.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 3:02pm]


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