Wedding party survives hot air balloon crash

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SAN DIEGO – A hot air balloon carrying a newly married couple and their wedding party made an unplanned hard landing in the backyard in Rancho Penasquitos Monday.

The accident in the 13100 block of Avenida del General was reported about 4:45 p.m., according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

cell phone picture of it crashingDon Myers was watching TV in his Rancho Penasquitos house around 4:45 p.m. Monday when something covered all of the windows. When he walked into the backyard, he found a giant hot air balloon basket had smashed into his fence.

His wife, Ellen, arrived home minutes later wondering what happened after seeing a dozen strangers in her backyard.

“There are police cars, fire trucks, SDG&E,” said Ellen Myers.

Her neighbor, Mark Carlile, described how the troubled balloon came to earth.

“It just hit the ground, hit my hill and then hit my neighbor’s fence and crashed,” said Carlile. “As this was happening, I was running up the hill to go see if I could help, because I was expecting to find a lot worse than what I found.”

A wedding party, including the bride and groom, were climbing from the balloon’s passenger basket, he said.

Medics took one of the 14 people who had been riding in the basket to Pomerado Hospital for evaluation of mild back pain, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department spokesman Maurice Luque said. No other injuries were reported.

Skysurfer Hot Air Balloon Rides, the company that operated the balloon, did not comment but quickly transported their customers away from the site.

The deflated blue-and-yellow balloon wound up draped over a tree and part of a home but caused no known property damage, according to Luque.

Myers said he’ll have to wait until the morning when the sun comes up to determine the extent of the damage to his home.

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