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LARIMER COUNTY - Officials in Larimer County have been actively searching for hours for a child who literally floated away from his family's home on an experimental aircraft at 11 a.m. Thursday.
According to the Larimer County Sheriff's Department, the 6-year-old boy's family had been building an experimental aircraft which had a large helium balloon attached at their home on Fossil Ridge Road in Fort Collins.
On Thursday morning, according to the family and officials, the boy got onto the aircraft and detached the rope holding it in place.
The aircraft is described by the sheriff's office as a dome-shaped, 20 foot, 5 foot aircraft covered with foil.
Viewer Lisa Eklund sent photos of an aircraft in the air near her home on Saturn Drive, also in Fort Collins.
The Federal Aviation Administration is working to track the aircraft on its radar tower and has notified the Denver International Airport.
Shortly after noon, the Weld County Sheriff's Office said the boy was seen two miles south of Evans, near County Road 46 and Highway 85. Sky9 is now helping track the aircraft which is said to be traveling at least 25 miles per hour.
Closer to 1 p.m., the aircraft was listed as near Hudson.
Officials all over northern Colorado are preparing crews should the aircraft land. Additionally, the National Gaurd has launched a helicopter to assist with rescue efforts.
Aviation Expert Greg Feith spoke to 9NEWS about the process of rescuing the boy.
"It is an unusual event and the big thing now is trying to get that child down from this balloon. It's all going to depend on of course the environment. It's windy outside so it's going to keep it adrift for quite a while. The helium, depending on the size of this thing, if it ran into very cold air, it may help it come down as you know if you let a helium balloon go the higher it gets it'll stagnate only because of the cold air," Feith said.
Feith added that without knowing the structural integrity of the aircraft it is difficult to know how it will withstand any turbulence.
"The other key here is the structural integrity. Not knowing how it's constructed and given the fact that we do have these wind conditions which of course create turbulence we don't know how much turbulence this airship, if you will, can actually withstand so there's a lot of external factors here," he added.
Feith says the military will likely be needed to help with this rescue effort as they are familiar with creative uses of aircrafts to rescue soldiers from difficult locations.
"In the past [the military has] launched helium balloons to pull guys out of the woods when they've been shot down. Other than that I think they're going to have to let the forces of nature and hopefully a lot of luck bring this airship down safely."
9NEWS Weather Anchor Marty Coniglio, who is also a pilot, also discussed the rescue effort on 9NEWS at Noon.
"It's a clear day... we don't have horrible winds. I'm sure it's frightening for the child but we have what we think is a wind basically out of the northwest at about 15-25 m.p.h., it depends on your altitude," he said.
Sky9 is working with Weld County officials to track the aircraft from the air.
9NEWS will continue to follow this story and provide updates on 9NEWS.com and 9NEWS at 4, 5 and 6 p.m.
Tags: Officials, trying, to, rescue, child, from, experimental, aircraft,
Location: Denver, Colorado, United States (load item map)
Marked as: approved, featured
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