The balloon landed near West Bernardo Drive at Duenda Road just after 7 p.m. Tuesday. Nine people were on board, including the pilot, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.
"My buddy's like, 'I don't think he's doing it right,'" said witness Devon Whittacker, who was at a pub at a nearby shopping center when he saw the wayward balloon and started recording. "It starts coming this way and I'm backing up a little bit, like, that's a lot of fabric."
Within minutes, the chase crew was on scene folding the balloon as traffic backed up in both directions. Everyone on board, including several children celebrating a birthday party, were OK.
"He managed to land it in the most safest area possible as opposed to landing it safely in the middle of the street away from all the vehicles, and also not hitting the church or landing on the 15, which definitely would have been bad," said Whittacker. "So, I applaud him for his maneuver."
Whittacker said he saw San Diego police give the pilot a ticket.