Sept. 8 (UPI) — A Chinese man who spent two days in a hydrogen balloon that drifted roughly 200 miles has been found safe.
Identified only as Hu, the man had been gathering pine nuts in the northeastern Chinese province of Heilongjiang when the balloon became untethered.
Chinese state media CCTV reported that rescuers used a cellphone to contact the man and helped him safely deflate the balloon to land. The balloon came down in the Fangzheng region of China near the Russian border.
Hu told CCTV he’s thankful for the rescue and had nearly given up. A second man in the balloon escaped the balloon by jumping to the ground.
According to Chinese media outlet Global Times, Hu and another worker were harvesting pine nuts when suddenly the balloon went out of control and lifted them into the air. The Times said a rescue effort by about 500 firefighters, police, employees of a local company and professional rescuers worked to save Hu.
Hu was taken to a hospital where he is in good condition.
According to the Beijing Youth Daily, a rescuer named Meng Qingchun reported that heavy rain in a dark forested area made rescue efforts extremely difficult.