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AP Photo/David Zalubowski
Six-year-old Falcon Heene is shown with his father, Richard, outside the family's home in Fort Collins, Colo., after Falcon Heene was found hiding in a box in a space above the garage on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2009.
BALLOON HOAX

Raw Home Video Of Balloon Launch Fuels Questions

As Family Readies For Launch, No One Asks About Falcon

POSTED: 9:35 am MDT October 16, 2009
UPDATED: 4:42 pm MDT October 16, 2009

Home video of the ill-fated launch of the Heene family's balloon is fueling more questions about the "Balloon Boy" controversy, and if it was all a hoax.

Watch Raw Video Of Heene Home Video

In the 58-second tape segment, obtained by 7NEWS, father Richard Heene, described by friends as an amateur "Mad Scientist," frantically directs his young sons and wife as they hurry to raise the silvery saucer-shaped balloon on a 20 foot tether.

Six-year-old Falcon, the youngest boy who family members had feared was hidden in the craft, is nowhere to be seen in the video. In the video, no one ever talks about Falcon or his possibly being in the runaway balloon.

"I've got the timer on. Timer's on. We got to let go in just a few minutes," the dad explains as they prepare to launch what he's described as an experimental flying vehicle like the one flown by the "Jetsons" family on the 1960s cartoon show.

"Brad, all right, I want you to videotape. Stay back here," the father tells his 10-year-old son, Bradford, directing him to stand on the porch, by four tanks of helium.

"Are we going to fly it now?" Brad asks in the confusion of the chaotic launch. Richard Heene and his wife, Mayumi, stand by the UFO-shaped craft, as it rests on a ring stand.

"Here we go! Three, two, one," the father counts down with two other sons before he pulls a rope releasing the helium-powered craft.

But instead of rising 20 feet anchored by a tether line, the saucer floats off into the sky.

"WHOA!" says a stunned Brad.

"Oh my God!" the dad says.

"Are you there? -- tether!" Richard Heene shouts to his crew.

But to no avail. The balloon slowly drifts up in the sky.

The father, clearly upset at losing the craft, kicks the support ring as the video clip ends.

However, the video raises questions as to when the family knew when Falcon was on the aircraft. In the video, Richard Heene is shown clearly looking at the bottom of the balloon -- "the basket" where the boy was supposedly hiding.

Why didn't the parent lunge at the balloon and at the tether when it took off?

Also, if Richard Heene had constructed the balloon, how could he not have known, given his son's weight, that the balloon would be weighed down, and not easily lift off as it did, if his son was in it?

Balloon experts had been skeptical during Thursday's flight that the 25 foot wide, 5 foot tall balloon could hold a 6-year-old boy.

Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden watches home video of the balloon launch in a 7News live truck following Friday's news conference.

Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden said Friday an expert at CSU assured him the balloon could lift up to 80 pounds and the boy was only 37 pounds.

Alderden said during a noon news conference that he had not seen the family video of the accidental launch, but he reviewed it later in a 7NEWS live truck.

Alderden said the thought the balloon appeared to rise very quickly.

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