LIVE VIDEO: WUSA 9 at Noon Thursday    Watch
 

Caught On Camera: Wedding Day Hot Air Balloon Crash

11:36 AM, Jan 9, 2013   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +

(DES MOINES REGISTER) -- Jonathan and Kerin Narcisse plan to skydive on their first wedding anniversary.

Leaping from a plane, after all, is the only way to top the unexpected crash landing that followed the couple's nuptials on Monday.

Shortly after exchanging vows aboard a hot air balloon in San Diego, the vessel carrying the former Des Moines school board member and his new wife fell to the ground.

The crash landing - punctuated by screams and harried prayers - was caught on video by a family member and broadcast Tuesday on NBC's "Today."

"There were so many calls to Jesus," Narcisse quipped Tuesday after returning to Des Moines. "In fact, I think now we have six or seven generations of Narcisses protected."

The ceremony began "like something out of a fairy tale," he said. The balloon took off an hour before sunset, and the couple exchanged vows surrounded by white, puffy clouds. Far below, the reflection of the setting sun shimmered across the waters of the Pacific Ocean.

"It's a magnificent place to get married," said Narcisse, a 2010 third-party Iowa gubernatorial candidate. "There's no man-made structure that you can decorate to replicate that setting."

But Narcisse, 49, is the first to acknowledge two critical shortcomings of his hot air balloon wedding.

No. 1: Crash landings aren't optimal when wearing a white rented tux.

No. 2: It's hard to politely chuckle at the pastor's well-meaning jokes when you and your beloved are experiencing a free fall from the sky.

During the wedding party's rapid descent, the balloon came close to clipping a power line.

"We just barely missed them, and then the minister goes, 'Well, that would have been electrifying,' " Narcisse recounted. "It was not very funny at the time."

Narcisse said the trouble began when the pilot overshot the planned landing area.

From there, "we started a rapid descent," he said.

The balloon finally came to a stop when the basket crashed into a residential fence. No one was hurt. Even the red rose Kerin Narcisse held during the ceremony remained unharmed.

Jonathan Narcisse said he considers himself lucky, for more than one reason.

He's finally married to the woman he loves.

"Since 2005, I've been pursuing her," he said.

The two began dating in November. Kerin, a hospice nurse and Iowa native, will leave San Diego and join Narcisse in Des Moines this spring.

"There was an adventure leading up to the landing ... the adventure of two people finding each other," he said. "It's been a journey, and this is the perfect conclusion."

Most Watched Videos