THE identities of a Scots trio who laugh and do Wallace and Gromit impersonations as their hot air balloon falls out of the sky have finally been revealed – eight years after they posted the hit clip on YouTube.
The amazing footage, which has been viewed more than a million times, features a hilarious commentary by the unnamed Scots who keep up their performance even as they face possible death.
Until now, viewers knew only that they were two brothers and a friend from Scotland and that the 2007 clip was filmed in a remote area of China.
The stars of Hot Air Balloon Crash in China can now be revealed as accountant David Batchelor, his actor brother Sandy, and their friend, vet John Stewart.
The trio have told for the first time the amazing story of how they survived being blown 50 miles off course before hitting a tree and finally crashing-landing feet from a river.
During their chaotic descent the pals, who were students at the time, can be heard laughing hysterically and making jokes about what they might hit.
They even do Wallace and Gromit impersonations, jokingly saying “pass the cheese Gromit”, “not even wensleydale” and “cracking toast” as the balloon plummets towards the earth.
At one point, the man in charge of the balloon pulls on a rope, as one of the trio whispers: “He’s pulling the rope. They told us not to pull the rope. They said, whatever you do, don’t pull the rope.”
They took the balloon trip in the Yangshuo province in the Guangxi region of the country, despite being warned it was a very windy day.
Rather than pitiful screaming and prayers, the commentary includes the lines “we’re going down rather fast”, “this balloon is not big enough for the four of us”, “we’re going to hit a dude’s hut” and “we’re going to kill his grapes”.
One of the three can then be heard singing: “We’re stuck in a tree”.
After floating free, the balloon crash-lands feet from a river before the wind drags it on its side into a paddy field.
Even then, the lads carry on laughing with one shouting: “I think that gas thing just went up my ass.”
As amazed locals wander towards the crash site, one of the tourists says: “Look, they’ve even brought their cow to see us.”
As of yesterday (Thu) the video had been watched 1,076,000 times, with viewers all over the world praising the mystery trio for their amazing composure.
One wrote: “Typical Scots, laughing in the face of danger.”
Others observed: “Good lads making light of a scary situation. Scottish humour prevails!” and “This is wonderful – I’d love to travel with these Scottish lads.”
David, 32, and Sandy, 28, now both live in London, while John, 32, lives and works in Fife. They grew up together in Kinross.
Sandy said: “It never crossed our minds that this could be dangerous. I think the tree actually helped us out by slowing us down.
“We had to stick around for over an hour for a rescue team to come and find us – we were literally in the middle of nowhere.
“It was a good laugh – we never thought we were in any real danger.”
He added: “It’s ridiculous how many views this has now had. We just uploaded it to show friends and family, but it’s gone mental.”
He added: “Last year I checked the Youtube channel and saw that the video had been viewed over 700,000 times, and now it’s over a million.”