Wednesday, 21 October 2009
The balloon boy and 2012
10:43am UK, Wednesday October 21, 2009
Huw Borland, Sky News Online
An amateur storm scientist staged a hoax involving his son drifting off in a balloon because he fears the world will end in 2012, a researcher has claimed.
Richard Heene and his son Falcon in Fort Collins, Colorado, after a balloon experiment sparked a frantic search
Heene and his son Falcon in Fort Collins, Colorado
Richard Heene is suspected of attempting a publicity stunt in Fort Collins, Colorado, in a bid to get his own reality TV show.
Robert Thomas, who recorded Heene's ideas, told investigators the "obsessed" father wanted fame to earn money for a bunker that would save him from an apocalypse.
"Heene believes the world is going to end in 2012," Mr Thomas' lawyer Linda Lee said.
"Because of that, he wanted to make money quickly, become rich enough to build a bunker or something underground, where he can be safe from the sun exploding."
Runaway balloon in US
The helium balloon
Police believe Heene, and his wife Mayumi, should be charged with falsely reporting that their six-year-old son Falcon had floated away in the home-built helium balloon.
The boy, who was later found at the family home, told reporters he had been hiding in a garage.
Heene was apparently planning a show that focussed on a range of bizarre experiments, like trying to attract UFOs with a weather balloon.
Mr Thomas worked with Mr Heene on the idea for the programme from March until May.
Police interviewed the researcher after he revealed the amateur scientist was planning a media stunt to promote the show, Ms Lee said.
Mr Thomas' notes included Mr Heene discussing a hoax that involved a hot air balloon, the lawyer added.
Area 51-Fact or Fiction?
Area 51 is a military base, and a remote detachment of Edwards Air Force Base. It is located in the southern portion of Nevada in the western United States, 83 miles (133 km) north-northwest of downtown Las Vegas. Situated at its center, on the southern shore of Groom Lake, is a large secretive military airfield. The base's primary purpose is to support development and testing of experimental aircraft and weapons systems.
The base lies within the United States Air Force's vast Nevada Test and Training Range. Although the facilities at the range are managed by the 99th Air Base Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, the Groom facility appears to be run as an adjunct of the Air Force Flight Test Center (AFFTC) at Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert, around 186 miles (300 km) southwest of Groom, and as such the base is known as Air Force Flight Test Center (Detachment 3).
Though the name Area 51 is used in official CIA documentation, other names used for the facility include Dreamland, Paradise Ranch, Home Base, Watertown Strip, Groom Lake, and most recently Homey Airport. The area is part of the Nellis Military Operations Area, and the restricted airspace around the field is referred to as (R-4808N), known by the military pilots in the area as "The Box" or "the Container".
The intense secrecy surrounding the base, the very existence of which the U.S. government barely acknowledges, has made it the frequent subject of conspiracy theories and a central component to unidentified flying object (UFO) folklore.