‘Balloon boy’ father called FAA, then 9NEWS, before calling 9-1-1

October 17th, 2009 - 2:09 am ICT by BNO News  

balloon boy FORT COLLINS, COLORADO (BNO NEWS) — The mystery surrounding “balloon boy” Falcon Heene continues to deepen, but authorities say they have no indication it was a hoax.

On Friday afternoon, Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden held a news conference to shed more light on Thursday’s incident. Alderden said some doubts had emerged following a CNN interview in which Falcon said they had done it “for the show”, but said it had no other indication to believe the parents are lying.

Alderden further said that Falcon’s father, Richard, first called the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), then 9NEWS, and then 9-1-1. Alderden said Richard believed that 9NEWS could quickly send a helicopter to track down the flying saucer-like balloon.

But the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Friday told BNO News that they were first notified by 9NEWS, according to spokesman Mike Fergus. Fergus said he received a phone call from 9NEWS with the information that a six-year-old boy was believed to be aboard a small balloon.

Fergus said he informed the control tower after the call from 9NEWS, who then notified other state agencies. Although he was not aware of any phone call from Falcon’s father, Fergus said his call may have gone to another facility of the Federal Aviation Administration. He did also not know if the control tower was already aware of the incident when he called them.

Allen Kenitzer, also a spokesman for the FAA, said the phone call would be part of an investigation that the agency is conducting. Kenitzer refused to give more information on the reason for the investigation because it is still ongoing. “Every time something happens with things that fly we investigate,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, when asked about the sheriff’s remarks during the conference, said they had no confirmation that Richard Heene actually made the call to the FAA. “I’m not sure what to say, I guess we took his word for it,” the spokeswoman said.

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