‘Best Engagement Ever': Hot Air Balloon Unexpectedly Lands in Mira Mesa Neighborhood

The couple said they are thankful the pilot had everything under control

You could say Gavin Lodge is head over heels for his new fiancee Katrina Smith.

"I've been planning it for about three months," Lodge told NBC 7.  

The Scripps Ranch couple, who met two years ago on an online dating site, took a hot air balloon ride Saturday evening. Lodge planned to propose before they landed.

"I told her, 'okay, we're going on a balloon ride, but it's for your birthday,' which happened months ago," he explained.

Katrina Smith agreed to go. 

“I was nervous; I knew she would say yes, but I was still nervous,” said Lodge.

The proposal went exactly as planned. 

“I told her something very beautiful, got on one knee and then I called my daughters and told them when we FaceTimed,” Lodge said.

The couple snapped pictures to remember the special moment flying over North County.

“It was an adrenaline-fueled engagement,” explained Smith.

Lodge proposed just before the ride got a little interesting. 

The pair were supposed to land in Carmel Valley, but their ride took an unexpected turn because of the winds in North County, forcing them to land an hour later than expected.

They ended up in an empty Mira Mesa park, across the street from San Diego Miramar College, up the street from Mira Mesa Boulevard. Along the way, the hot air balloon drifted right above homes in the neighborhood, coming close to skimming the roofs. 

“Then we had to go really fast because we learned where we wanted to land was not an option,” said Smith.

Lodge, Smith and their pilot were able to get out of the balloon without injury.

Gavin and Katrina say it was a peaceful landing.

They joked that they asked the pilot to give them a ride home to Scripps Ranch, and he just fell a little bit short.

Even if their hot air balloon landed a little further away than they expected, the couple said this was an engagement they will never forget. 

"This is like the best engagement ever, very memorable once-in-a-lifetime experience made for a fantastic day," Lodge told NBC 7.

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