Home / National News / FAA Investigating After Hot Air Balloon Lands in Pacific Ocean


(CARDIFF-BY-THE-SEA, Calif.) — The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating after a hot-air balloon landed in the Pacific Ocean.

The Sunday balloon ride was planned by Eric Barretto. He envisioned a memorable, sky-high marriage proposal to his girlfriend Ashley King.

Barretto got on one knee. King said yes.

But the special moment quickly spiraled out of control, with Barretto and King’s balloon drifting over the ocean before landing in the water off of Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California. The couple and the pilot — identified as Timothy Chico — were rescued by surfers and lifeguards.

“I wasn’t planning on ending it that way, but that’s how it happened,” Barretto told ABC News.

Anxious beachgoers watched from the shoreline, their cameras rolling as the balloon flew over the crashing waves. The balloon’s pilot desperately tried to regain command of the balloon, to no avail. A group of bystanders paddled to help, with lifeguards and surfers grabbing a rope, trying to pull the balloon toward the beach.

Emergency vehicles rushed to the shoreline.

“When I saw all the surfers come to help, I felt a little relieved,” King said.

The couple, along with Chico, made it to shore without any injuries.

According to ABC News affiliate KGTV, the incident wasn’t the first for Chico, a 12-year veteran. He was also involved in a 2010 rough landing that resulted in three passengers with broken bones.

The happy couple said they’ll be keeping their feet on the ground from now on.

“This was our first time, and I think it’s our last time,” Barretto said.

“Agree, never again,” King said.

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