Chinese man endures terrifying balloon ride after nut picking plan goes terribly wrong
Convinced death is imminent, man calls pregnant wife to express his undying love, videos his ‘final’ moments
A man in southeastern China was quite literally blown away recently when the hydrogen balloon he was using to help him pick pine nuts slipped its moorings and drifted for more than 100km.
The unwitting pilot was Yin Yanlei, who said he feared for his life when he realised he was floating free, China National Radio reported on Wednesday.
“I could only see the clouds around me and the forest below. I lost sight of the roads and the villages. I truly thought I was finished,” he said.
The incident began on Monday morning in the village of Jiguan, Jilin province, while Yin was picking pine nuts from a platform suspended underneath the balloon, the report said.
However, as the wind picked up, the cable that was tethering the balloon to a tree came loose. Without any way to steer the contraption or control its ascent, Yin had no choice but to hang on and hope for the best.
With no signal on his phone, Yin was unable to call for help, though he did record a video of what he thought would be his final moments, the report said.
“It’s over,” he said to the camera. “I must now face my life, I’m flying”.
Thankfully for him, the floating balloon had been spotted and the police alerted. More than 40 people and seven vehicles from four jurisdictions were dispatched to help track his progress.
Eventually, Yin’s phone picked up a signal and his police escorts were able to contact him. An officer gave him instructions on how to control the balloon and soon after he was descending back to Earth, the report said.
His magical mystery tour ended about 2pm in a forest near the village of Jicang, and a long way from home. One of his final acts before touching down was to call his wife.
Still unsure he would return home safely, he said: “I love you. If I can make it out of this alive, I will stay with you for many years. But if something happens to me, you must be brave and carry on living.”