hot air balloon crash
The crash scene in Rancho Penasquitos, April 15, 2018. Photo: OnSceneTV

A hot air balloon carrying 14 passengers was forced to make an unplanned landing in Rancho Penasquitos Sunday, according to a San Diego police lieutenant.

The balloon’s operator began having issues shortly after 7 p.m. and attempted to make an emergency landing at a nearby elementary school, but instead crashed on a hillside at Penasquitos Drive and Del Diablo Street.

All of the passengers escaped without injury, said San Diego police Lt. Andra Brown.

Nearby residents aided the operator and passengers by securing the balloon’s basket and preventing it from toppling down a hillside, Brown explained.

“If not for the community, there may have been injuries,” she said.

The incident was referred to the National Transportation Safety Board for investigation.