Digital Publisher of the Year | Sunday 18 October 2009 | USA feed


Boy trapped in 'UFO-like balloon' floating over Colorado

A six-year-old boy is trapped in a small homemade helium balloon resembling a UFO and is floating thousands of feet in the air in Colorado.


Television images showed the silver balloon floating above Colorado at about 6,000 feet (1,830 metres) as authorities were trying to find a way to land the craft safely.

Update: balloon has landed and found to be empty

A Larimer County Sheriff's spokesman confirmed that the boy was inside the balloon, which she described as "a homemade helium balloon made to look like a UFO."

Reports said the boy got into the device, which it described as a "home-made flying saucer" at his family's home in Fort Collins and that it then came loose from its tether.

The aircraft, which can reportedly reach altitudes of 10,000 feet (3,048 metres), was last spotted flying over nearby Weld County.

Kathy Davis, spokesman for the sheriff's office. told CNN: "Our office received a call this morning and our emergency service on patrol responded to a (Fort Collins) address on reports of a home-made flying saucer built by an adult male that came loose from its tether and took off, flying in an easterly direction.

"Apparently a six-year-old boy had climbed into the access door and is in the device.

"Up to this point we have contacted the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and an air force base and a balloon company and we are trying to determine the best course of action."

Asked what that best course of action was, she replied: "We are just going to have to respond the best way we can - this is a first and we will do what we need to do."

Helicopters were reported to be tracking the enclosed silver balloon, which was reportedly made by the boy's father.

"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 eye witness Lisa Eklund.

The Colorado National Guard said they were preparing to launch a helicopter to rescue the boy from the balloon, with a guard offical saying helicopter crews may attempt to hoist a rescuer down to the balloon to reach the boy.

Erik Nilsson, the Larimer County Emergency manager, said that officials might have to shoot the balloon in order to get it to land and prevent the child fom developing hypothermia.

According to Mr Nilsson, the parents called the police about half an hour after they realised the balloon had launched.

"We can't get this thing down," he said. "We may end up having to breach the balloon, possibly with small arms fire."

He said another option would be flying a helicopter above the balloon and using the downward wind to push the balloon down.


Worrying rise of Obama’s Mr Wrong

Joe Biden

Vice-President Joe Biden has been on the wrong side of history on all the big questions, argues Toby Harnden.

News Most Viewed

Sponsored Features

Honda V4: win a holiday test drive

Be one of the first to ride the new Honda V4 motorbike on the open road at a surprise location abroad.

Family holidays in the Alps

Discover Kinderhotels for summer and winter family-friendly holidays in the beautiful Alpine countryside.

A whole new world

A 16-page guide to travel experiences from a selection of Aito's specialist tour operators.


Bodies in Urban Spaces

Bodies in Urban Spaces

Performers create living human sculptures around London.

India fights back

Anti-terrorist commandos display their martial art skills in India.

More readers' photos

Photographs of autumn in Britain taken by Telegraph readers.

Sponsored Features

John Lewis - The Room

Create a fantastic look for your home - traditional, modern or vintage - with John Lewis

Smart thinking

If you’re looking for value in your home or office, there’s one simple, smart choice you can make.

Free hotel nights

Pay for two nights, stay for three at more than 100 stylish boutique hotels from Mr & Mrs Smith.