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Hot air balloon proposal off San Diego ends in the water

The groom-to-be was looking for a memorable ride.

He got what he paid for.

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As the sun was slipping down toward the Pacific on Sunday evening, the man and his girlfriend were floating over the coast at Cardiff-By-The-Sea, north of San Diego, in a hot air balloon.

The girlfriend became a fiance when the man proposed.

Then things took a turn for the unexpected.

An unusual wind current pushed the balloon out to sea, said Encinitas Marine Safety Capt. Larry Giles.

The balloon's pilot lowered the craft in search of a different winds, but it continued to drift further away from shore, Giles said. With no life jackets on board and one of the passengers unable to swim, the pilot opted to make an emergency landing in the water, according to Giles.

As the balloon approached the water, the pilot tossed out a rope to about 15 surfers and lifeguards, who grabbed hold and began to pull it toward shore, Giles recounted.

The newly betrothed jumped from the balloon's basket as it hit the water and were rescued quickly by lifeguards, according to Giles.

No one was hurt.

Giles did not know the names of the passengers, the pilot or the name of the balloon company.

"It was one of those unusual calls that turned out well," Giles said.

Twitter: @joelrubin

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