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Surfers save couple in hot air balloon after proposal gone bad

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CARDIFF-BY-THE-SEA, Calif. (KSWB) — Surfers came to the rescue of newly engaged couple Sunday when the hot air balloon where the man had just popped the question dipped into the water off the coast of Cardiff-by-the-Sea.

This photo captures a wayward hot air balloon moments before it dipped into the ocean off the San Diego coast, with a newly engaged couple on board. (Photo: Burnz Eye View)

This photo captures a wayward hot air balloon moments before it dipped into the ocean off the San Diego coast, with a newly engaged couple on board. (Photo: Burnz Eye View)

A hot balloon hovered low over coastal homes in Cardiff around 6:30 p.m. after experiencing altitude issues, according to Encinitas lifeguard Capt. Larry Giles. Then, the wind shifted, taking the balloon offshore.

The pilot dropped the balloon’s messenger line down to surfers in the water and who helped pull the hot air balloon to the water, preventing it from blowing farther offshore until lifeguards arrived, Giles said. One of the passengers didn’t know how to swim and was the first to be rescued by lifeguards.

Before the balloon started having problems, the man aboard the balloon proposed to his girlfriend, according the lifeguard captain.

Lifeguards towed the hot air balloon, pilot and newly engaged couple to shore.

“Yeah this is pretty crazy. It was pretty wild. We just talked to hot air balloon people. They’re really great people. They take safety very seriously, and for whatever reason, the atmosphere conditions changed and took them over the water,” Mark Burnz, with Burnz Eye View, said.

He was one of many witnesses to the emergency landing and captured the rescue on video, which he shared with Fox 5.

Giles said the last time lifeguards came to the rescue of a hot air balloon was 14 years ago.