All he was going to do was pick pine nuts. But the Chinese man has set out on a long journey.

The man, identified only as Hu, was using a hydrogen balloon when he was blown up, CNN reported, citing Chinese state media.

Hu was working with colleagues in Hailin county in Heilongjiang province on Sunday when they lost control of the balloon.

His colleague was able to jump off safely, but Mr. Hu drifted in the balloon.

He was found about 300 kilometers away on Tuesday morning.

A search and rescue operation involving more than 500 people tracked his cell phone signal and eventually found the balloon stuck in a tree.

“I almost gave up,” Hu told CCTV. “Thanks to the rescue team. Otherwise I wouldn’t be alive.”

He told the interviewer that he was cold and hungry, but was unharmed except for a minor injury to his lower back.

Using hydrogen or helium balloons to harvest pine nuts has become increasingly common in China, and there have been similar incidents in the past.

In a reported case in 2019, two men lost control of a balloon in China’s Changbai Mountains and drifted 10 km before landing safely.

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