FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) - A 6-year-old boy climbed into a homemade balloon aircraft in Colorado and floated away Thursday, forcing officials to scramble to figure out how to rescue the boy as the balloon hurtled through the air. The balloon has landed in a field. Rescue crews are still trying to figure out if the boy is in the balloon or has fallen out.
The bizarre scene played out live on television and prompted fears that the flying saucer-shaped balloon would crash with the young child inside. The balloon rotated slowly in the wind, tipping precariously at times.
Cathy Davis of the Larimer County Sheriff's Department told CNN the balloon was owned by the boy's parents. "We'll just have to respond the best we can," Davis said. "This is a first and we'll do what we need to do." The Colorado Army National Guard was preparing to launch an OH-58 Kiowa helicopter to help in the response effort, said Capt. Michael Odgers. It wasn't immediately clear what role the helicopter would play.
FAA spokesman Mike Fergus said the agency has been notified and it was unclear whether traffic controllers had picked it up on radar. Larimer County sheriff's spokeswoman Eloise Campanella said the device had the potential to rise to 10,000 feet. Sheriff's officials last saw the device floating south of Milliken, which is about 40 miles north of Denver. "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. Additional details about the child and the balloon were not immediately available. "By the time I saw it, it traveled pretty fast," Eklund said.
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