Stunned Chinese motorists and motorcyclists were forced to take cover from the “moon” after it came crashing to earth – across a city’s highways.
The earth’s satellite – an inflatable version that had been tethered outside a shopping mall to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival – was blown away by strong winds hours before Super Typhoon Meranti struck the southeastern Chinese province of Fujian on Thursday morning.
Officials in the province issued the highest weather warning as Meranti’s arrival sparked strong winds and floods across the region.
But it came too late to save the runaway moon.
A few hours before Meranti made landfall, a video went viral on the mainland showing the moment the giant inflatable took flight.
The force of nature’s intervention was timely, too, as the annual public holiday sees families light lanterns in celebration of the full moon.
The video, filmed on September 14, shows the inflatable moon – which had been resting beside two inflatable jade rabbits outside the mall in the provincial capital, Fuzhou – taking flight after being blown off its mooring.
The footage, which shows the inflatable moon rolling and bouncing along highways and over cars – and narrowly missing a couple of stunned motorcyclists – led to many lighthearted social media comments from mainland netizens.
“Hey hey hey, moon! Do you realised you broke traffic rules! Where is your jade rabbit? Why doesn’t it control you!” one netizen wrote.
In Chinese mythology, the jade rabbit is a companion of Chang’e, the goddess of the moon. The goddess and the rabbit are believed to have lived there since ancient times.
Some other mainland netizens mused about what the moon might have been thinking as it bounced around in the air..
“Look at me, I’m rolling proudly, look at me I’m flying here and there,” another blogger wrote.”
However, the bloggers’ comments did not include the “thoughts” of the escapee’s companions, the two “marooned’ jade rabbits, left behind outside the mall.