From live feed;Experimental aircraft lands, no sign of boy A soft landing in front of rescuers revealed the 6 year old boy was not in the craft.
LARIMER COUNTY - A homemade, experimental aircraft made an apparent soft landing northeast of Denver International Airport on Thursday afternoon after it took off from a Fort Collins home with a 6-year-old boy inside, but rescue crews found no sign of the boy when they reached the aircraft.
When it landed five miles east of Prospect Reservoir, 9NEWS could not see any child rescued from the basket of the balloon, but earlier Fort Collins Police had said they were certain he was still inside.
The experimental aircraft, which is a type of balloon filled with helium, was up for nearly three hours and appeared to start to rapidly deflate shortly after 1 p.m.
According to the Larimer County Sheriff's Department, the 6-year-old boy's parents had been building an experimental aircraft which had a large helium balloon attached to it at their home on Fossil Ridge Road in Fort Collins. The boy was identified as Falcon Henne.
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. As it was flying, it was going about 20-25 mph.
A spokesperson with Fort Collins Police said, "This balloon was never meant to actually carry anybody. It was just a family project they were working on. The little compartment where their son is in is very small and it's not attached very well."
Police say the family's two boys were playing outside with the rest of the family inside the house. One son watched his little brother go inside the compartment and watched it take off.
The Federal Aviation Administration worked to track the aircraft on its radar tower and notified DIA. At one point, a helicopter with the Colorado National Guard was launched to help in the rescue.
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.
Closer to 1 p.m., the aircraft was listed as near Hudson.
DIA rerouted northbound flights as a precaution because of the aircraft. There were no delays or cancellations and the airport is back to normal operations.
Sky9 worked with Weld County officials to track the aircraft from the air beginning around noon.
Viewer Lisa Eklund sent photos of an aircraft in the air near her home on Saturn Drive, also in Fort Collins.
The boy's father Richard Henne is a known storm chaser. During an appearance on the television program WifeSwap, Henne and his wife, Mayumi, focused on their love of science.
9NEWS will continue to follow this story and provide updates on 9NEWS.com and 9NEWS at 4, 5 and 6 p.m.