Colorado

Oct 23, 2009 9:43 AM by Kristen Wyatt

FAA investigators may be focusing on balloon call

The Colorado parents who reported their 6-year-old son was being carried away in a runaway balloon could be in hotter water for making a phone call than for setting loose the flying saucer-like craft.

The FAA has few rules for the release of unmanned balloons, and they take effect only when aircraft or property are in danger.

But Richard Heene's call to the FAA and 911 sent authorities chasing the balloon for 50 miles before it landed near Denver International Airport. The boy was later found safe at home in Fort Collins. The family denies a hoax, but authorities think otherwise.

The FAA isn't releasing details about an investigation, but former FAA inspector Joseph Gutheinz Jr. says the agency is probably focusing on a call.

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