A hot air balloon ride intended to be a birthday present took an unexpected turn in San Diego Thursday.
The balloon basket was carrying seven passengers and a pilot when it was blown off course in the Rancho Penasquitos area.
If there was any tension in the balloon you would not have known it by the laughter of the passengers once they landed.
“Did we worry the neighbors,” one passenger asked referring to all the residents out in their backyards watching the balloon as it drifted just above the rooftops.
The pilot was able to land it in a dirt lot behind the San Diego Fire Station off of Carmel Mountain Road.
Sky Surfer Balloon Company pilot Bill Brandt used the term “precautionary landing” to describe the unusual landing site.
“There was no crisis going on. There was no fuel issue,” Brandt said.
“We wanted to land farther north of here but the winds took us a little farther south than we would have liked to have landed,” he said.
The “birthday girl” who wanted to be identified as Franci said it was a fun ride regardless.
“I won't forget it. It was very thrilling,” she said adding that she never felt scared.
Her cousin, Margi Wangaard of Encinitas, purchased the ride as a gift and said they enjoyed beautiful views of the coast before the landing site change.
“I knew he would make it but there was a little nervousness there. You know, 'Don't hit the fence, make sure you go straight,'" she said.
No one was injured.