Hot air balloon carrying wedding party crashes, takes out fence

8:35 AM, Jan 8, 2013   |    comments
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By Walter Makaula

RANCHO PENASQUITOS, Calif. (KSWB/CNN) - A wedding party's hot air balloon trip ended with an unexpected hard landing in a backyard.

Cameras were rolling as the yellow and blue blimp deflated mid-air.

The homeowner says he was inside the house watching TV when all of the sudden it got dark very quickly. When he looked out the window there was something covering half of his house. When he looked in the backyard, a hot air balloon was sitting on his fence.

The hot air balloon basket carrying 13 people crashed just before sunset into a chain link fence, just west of Interstate 15.

Mark Carlisle was on the other side of the fence with his buddy.

"We look up and we see this huge balloon coming up over the horizon," said Carlisle.

That's rare in the area because huge power lines stretch across the hillside. He knew something wasn't right.

"It just hit the ground, hit my hill and hit my neighbor's fence and crashed," he said.

That neighbor was Don Myers, who says he was spooked.

"It got dark in the house and it's because the balloon had just basically almost engulfed half of the house," said Myers.

He called his wife, who rushed home.

"It was like 'Oh my God, what's happening?' There are police cars, fire trucks, SDG&E," said Ellen Myers.

People were screaming as a dozen strangers poured out of the sky into the backyard.

"As this was happening I was running up the hill to see if I could help because I was expecting to find a lot worse than what I found," said Carlisle.

What he found as 13 people from a wedding party, including the bride and groom who just said "I do" up in the air. They all seemed to be okay.

Carlisle says the Skysurfer Hot Air Balloon Company quickly arrived and immediately took their downed passengers away before emergency crews could get there.

Only one woman was complaining of a sore back.

Carlisle spoke with the happily married couple before they left and learned they are both ministers.

"They were pretty freaked out um, there was a lot of screaming and a lot of people yelling Jesus," said Carlisle.

And the couple believes they received his blessing.


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