A California man's romantic proposal to his girlfriend almost ended in complete disaster when their sunset hot air balloon ride crash landed into the Pacific Ocean.
Hundreds of beach goers at Cardiff-by-the-Sea watched the balloon veer dramatically off course around 7pm, just after Eric Barretto had successfully proposed to girlfriend, Jennilyn Buenaventura Garcia.
The pilot could not return the stricken balloon to shore, so dozens of surfers swam out to meet the balloon as it hovered over the surface and watched as Barretoo and Garcia jumped from the basket into the water.
Relieved he managed to propose before his dramatic rescue, Barretto said that at least he and his fiancé will have a story to tell at their wedding.
'It's unforgettable. That's all I can say,' said Barretto. 'I don't know if we'll do it again.'
The balloon pilot was identified as Tim, who works for Panda Air Bear Balloon Flights.
He told NBC San Diego that strong winds caused the balloon to be pushed off course westwards, leaving him no choice but to attempt to either use onshore winds to push them back or to ditch in the water.