A man in China was rescued two days after he went missing while harvesting pine nuts in a hydrogen balloon.
The man, identified as Hu Yongxu, reportedly lost control of his balloon and drifted away while working in the Chinese province of Heilongjiang on Sunday.
At the time, Hu was working with a colleague who managed to jump to safety before the balloon got blown away by the wind.
The rescuers were able to reach Hu by phone the next morning and guide him on how to deflate the balloon slowly and land safely.
He finally landed in a forest on Tuesday at around 9 a.m. over 300 kilometers (186 miles) away, close to the border with Russia.
The search team, which consisted of over 500 police and fire department officers, spotted Hu’s balloon stuck in a tree.
“I almost gave up,” Hu was quoted as saying. “Thanks to the rescuers, otherwise, I wouldn’t be alive.”
Hu, who sustained minor injuries on his waist and some pain in his back, noted how cold and hungry he had been throughout the ordeal.
Described by authorities as a man in his 40s, Hu is now recovering in a hospital.
Hu’s experience is reportedly not too uncommon among pine nut pickers, as the use of hydrogen or helium balloons for this type of work has been the norm in China.
A similar case happened in 2019 when two men picking pine cones in the Changbai mountains also lost control of their balloon and were carried about 10 kilometers (6 miles) away. While they did land safely, they were arrested for breaking local aviation laws.