Pilot Russ Lucas and 16 passengers, including some children, were aboard the balloon, which is operated by Orlando Balloon Rides, authorities said.
“The pilot had to make an emergency landing (because of an issue with the wind),” FHP spokeswoman Kim Montes said. “He attempted to land in a field off the Turnpike, but ended up in a retention pond.”
“It was scary. It was really scary,” a passenger told Lehman. “A lot of people were screaming. My girlfriend went underneath it, so I just had to throw my phone away and get her safe. Her dad took care of the little boy.”
Video recorded by a passenger shows the balloon landing on the water and drifting toward the bank.
“All right folks, we’re going to get a little wet. Sorry about that,” the pilot is heard saying just before the balloon touched down.
Moments later, someone is heard joking, “You pay extra for the water landing, guys.”
The basket then overturned, sending screaming and crying passengers into the pond.
Most of the deflated balloon ended up draped across the grass near the southbound lanes of S.R. 429. All lanes of S.R. 429 are open.