Runaway Balloon Boy: All A Publicity Stunt?

If you didn’t hear the story of the Colorado six year old who had all North Americans holding their breath as he was allegedly floating along in a helium balloon created by his storm chaser parents as a scientific research rool, you must be living in a hole. But while all major media outlets were focused upon tracking this jiffy pop look-alike balloon is it travelled across Colorado for more than 2 1/2 hours at 40 miles per hour, before it’s final landing in an empty field, the little boy was in fact safe at home.

The family now claims, that after being yelled at by his father that morning, the 6 year old went to go and hide in the attic above the garage, they also claim that one of the boy’s brothers saw him get into the aircraft before it began to float away. There are a lot of blanks that have yet to be filled in; like why children were allowed to play around a potentially dangerous but also crucial piece of research equipment used in the parent’s work, and why the kid never surfaced in the few hours that half the world was watching rescue efforts take place to bring him home safetly. We might never have all of these questions answered honestly, despite our curiosity, but there’s one thing we do know – this smells suspiciously like a PR stunt.

The parents got their taste of celebrity appearing on the show “Wife Swap” on two occasions, and posting videos on CNN relating to their storm chasing research; perhaps they weren’t ready to let go of their 15 minutes of fame and decided to get some more publicity for their business. It does seem a little bit fishy that flying balloon automatically equated to child on boardl but maybe we can just give them the benefit of the doubt, maybe they were just so panicked at the possibility that they never thoroughly searched their home. You can call me a pessimist, but I can’t help but buy into the PR angle to some degree, afterall, with an invitation to Larry King Live tonight, they’ve found themselves in the forefront of the news and have really got people talking whether it’s out of compassion or outrage.

About the author

Beth Hodgson is a freelance writer and editor ( based in the Greater Toronto Area, Canada. Writing to keep the public informed is her passion; and who doesn't love Canadian TV?
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