57-year-old Xiao Yunzhi was taking a stroll in his home town of Guangyuan, Sichuan province, China, on Thursday morning, when his head started feeling strangely heavy.
But it was only when the local tobacconist stared at him and pointed to the top of his skull that he realised that something was amiss.
As Mr Xiao was passing underneath a high-rise apartment block, a five-inch kitchen knife had fallen from an eighth-floor balcony, embedding itself up its hilt in the left side of his head, but without piercing his skull.
As soon as the problem had been pointed out, pain washed over Mr Xiao and he sat down in the street, while someone called an ambulance.
"It was terrifying to see," said his younger sister, who only identified herself as Miss Xiao. "The knife handle was sticking out of the top."
"He is stable but is not fully out of danger yet," his sister said. "He cannot use the phone yet in case it has an effect on his condition."
The owner of the knife, a man named only as Mr Wu, said he had left the knife in a flowerpot on the balcony, never thinking that it might drop.
Mr Xiao is still being treated in his local intensive care unit.