A Jilin Province farmer was rescued on Monday after his hydrogen balloon drifted more than 50 kilometers.
Yin Yanlei, 29, told officers he was using the balloon to pick pine cones from the treetops when it began drifting away.
"My mother was supposed to tie the balloon to the tree but she didn't," said the Wangqing county resident, "suddenly a strong wind came and the balloon began moving away."
Yin tried to contact his family but couldn't get a mobile signal. "I was desperate," Yin remembered. "Where would the balloon bring me?"
What ensued was a harrowing two-hour ride. Local residents spotted Yin's runaway balloon and called police.
Officers made chase. Tracking his phone's GPS, police zeroed in on Yin's location."He was already 50 kilometers away from where he took off," a Wangqing county officer said.
After contacting the balloon's manufacturer, police instructed Yin to make a small puncture in the balloon.
The aircraft eventually descended close enough to ground level for police to pull him out.
Yin isn't put off by the experience. "Balloons are very helpful for us pickers," Yin said, "I'll be more careful next time."