Falcon’s safe … Richard Heene (left), his wife Mayumi, sons six-year-old Falcon Heene (lower left), Bradford (centre) and Ryo (right) talk to reporters in Fort Collins, Colorado.Online speculation has intensified that the story of a six-year-old boy feared to have floated away in a home-made balloon was part of a hoax orchestrated by the family.
The Heene family have been under the spotlight after their experimental saucer-like balloon took off from the family property in Colorado with six-year-old Falcon feared inside.
It was later found that Falcon was hiding in an attic in the family home, but not before an extensive rescue effort by authorities and global media attention.
During a subsequent CNN interview with the family, Falcon was asked by his father Richard why he did not come out of the attic despite his parents repeatedly calling his name.
Falcon appears to answer: “You guys said that … we did this for the show”.
The family did not elaborate on the answer, but the CNN interviewer Wolf Blitzer later asked Richard Heene what his son had meant.
After a long delay, Mr Heene replied: “I can see the direction you guys are hedging on this,” he said.
“I’m kind of appalled after all the feelings that I went through … that you guys are trying to suggest something else.”
He further explained that Falcon’s use of the word “show” was some reference to the family’s appearance on ABC’s Wife Swap program.
Many users on YouTube and Twitter declared the interview was proof the entire episode was a stunt orchestrated by the family.
The CNN “confession” has also been widely discussed on news blogs, including the Washington Post, LA Times and on Entertainment Tonight’s website.
Celebrity blogger Perez Hilton posted the interview on his website, under the heading: “Balloon Boy Confesses: ‘It Was For The Show”‘ and comments: “How awful…..and what a waste of taxpayer money!”