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Hot air balloons dodge Torrey Highlands homes, shopping center

Came down unexpectedly after "sudden drop"
Posted: 6:37 PM, Oct 20, 2017
Updated: 2017-10-21 01:37:02Z

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Nervous onlookers watched as some five hot air balloons filled with passengers barely avoided homes and a shopping center, coming down unexpectedly.

Melissa Mattingly and a friend were walking their dogs along Via Sabbia in Torrey Highlands around 5:30 p.m. Thursday, when something drew their attention to the sky.    

"Seemed like an updraft," said Mattingly.

Mattingly says she saw five hot air balloons - one of after another - suddenly in trouble.

"They were way too high in the air and then dropping way too fast and low," said Mattingly.

Moments later, there was panic on the ground.    

"It seemed to us that it was going to hit an apartment building or a home," said Mattingly.

Mattingly says the balloons hovered over the homes, struggling for height.

Next up for the flights: a busy shopping center.

"Scared us that they might hit the lights in the parking lot.  What if they got caught in that with the basket?" said Mattingly.

As the people below held their breath, the balloons flew past and split up.            

It was clear to Melissa and her friend that the balloons wouldn't be in the air much longer.

After what seemed like an eternity, Mattingly says the balloons landed, one in park and several in a nearby industrial area. She believes all landed safely.