This man by chance flew 200 miles in a balloon-fueled nut-picking mishap


For those who’ve ever puzzled why pine nuts are so costly this story would possibly make you assume twice about whining whereas shopping for your pesto components. A pine nut farmer in China is fortunate to be alive after a mishap led to him flying 200 miles, uncontrolled, in a tiny balloon basket.

The farmer, who is only being identified as Hu, was harvesting pine nuts in Heilongjiang province when the hydrogen balloon protecting him aloft got here untethered and he started floating away. One other farmer working with Hu jumped from the basket earlier than it rose too excessive, however Hu wasn’t so fortunate.

An instance of a pine nut harvesting ballon

The person floated for the remainder of the day, and in a single day earlier than rescuers on the bottom have been capable of contact the person and instruct him how he might slowly launch the hydrogen within the balloon — permitting him to slowly descend. It’s been reported that Hu is ok, apart from some decrease again ache, believed to be a product of standing for hours on finish within the tiny nut-harvesting basket.

Imagine it or not, that is nonetheless the most secure, most dependable solution to harvest pine nuts. The most effective nuts can solely be obtained from pine cones that are nonetheless hooked up to extraordinarily tall pine bushes in mountainous areas — and that has made harvesting them extraordinarily tough. Prior to now farmers would scale the bushes themselves, utilizing ropes and spiked boots — however this was extraordinarily harmful. Dozens of farmers a yr would plummet to their deaths, a product of dangerous buy with their boots, breaking branches, or a mixture of each.

Lifts, or cherry pickers are both too costly for many farmers — or impractical to navigate the mountain terrain. A 2017 story on pine nut harvesting even defined a plan to make use of monkeys to retrieve the nuts, however that didn’t work both.

“They even tried coaching monkeys to choose the pinecones, however discovered that the pine bushes’ sap would follow the monkeys’ fur, and the animals couldn’t be coaxed to climb the bushes a second time.”

This left farmers with one thought: Small balloons crammed with hydrogen. If correctly tethered to the bottom it could enable them to succeed in the highest of the bushes and work in relative security, earlier than being pulled again to the bottom by a spotter. It’s nonetheless a particularly harmful course of and employees proceed to die whereas utilizing the balloon rigs, nevertheless it’s one of the best reply society has to make sure the pine nut business continues.

Fortunately for Hu, fashionable know-how ultimately saved him. The person drifted into an space of cellular phone protection the place rescue groups have been capable of name him and provides directions on methods to get again to the bottom.

I’ll by no means complain about $20 for a tiny jar once more.


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