California Neighborhood Rallies to Stop Hot Air Balloon From Crashing

The pilot threw a rope to bystanders on the ground below.

— -- A California neighborhood came to the rescue Saturday of a hot air balloon carrying nearly a dozen people.

Neighbors in Rancho Santa Fe, California, watched as the hot air balloon first started to unexpectedly land on a busy road before it diverted to their street.

“First, the balloon was going in the wrong direction,” eyewitness Lina Hariri told ABC News. “It was going to land on the intersection where cars were going back and forth.”

The neighbors watched as the balloon then ran directly into a tree, causing its flames to tangle dangerously with the tree's branches.

As the hot air balloon continued to fall, the pilot decided to take advantage of the bystanders watching from the ground and lowered a rope in hopes they could help leverage the hot air balloon safely to the ground.

“And he’s trying to land it in this street,” one eyewitness can be heard saying in a video filmed by eyewitness Ric Johnson.

“Dude, seriously, let’s go,” another bystander can be heard saying.

The crowd of neighbors successfully pulled the balloon down to the street, avoiding any houses, but suffered one last moment of fright as the balloon began to levitate off the ground again.

The neighbors jumped fast to hold the balloon down and when the balloon touched the ground for good, the neighborhood erupted in jubilation.

"Instead of panicking, the whole community came together and everybody jumped in like it was their job,” Johnson, who filmed the incident, told ABC News. “Everybody helped. Everybody paid attention to the pilot and everybody did their jobs.”

Hot air balloons are not uncommon in their neighborhood because San Diego is known for its hot air balloon industry, homeowners told ABC News, but the balloons typically come down in a field or a nearby street, not nearly on top of their homes.