Florida Man Apprehended After Attempting Atlantic Crossing in Homemade Hamster Wheel Vessel

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A Florida resident found himself in custody after making a bold endeavor to traverse the Atlantic Ocean towards London in a self-fashioned vessel reminiscent of a hamster wheel.

On August 26th, the US Coast Guard intercepted Reza Baluchi approximately 70 miles (110km) off the coast of Tybee Island, Georgia. This 44-year-old marathon runner adamantly refused to abandon his peculiar vessel for a duration spanning three days.

Notably, Mr. Baluchi had previously undertaken three similar expeditions, each culminating in Coast Guard intervention. The makeshift contraption he employed resembled a wheel, complete with paddles designed to drive it forward as the wheel revolved.

As indicated in the criminal complaint, “Considering the condition of the vessel—kept afloat through wiring and buoys—US Coast Guard officers concluded that Baluchi was conducting an evidently perilous journey.”

It is worth noting that Mr. Baluchi initiated his voyage while authorities were preparing for an impending major hurricane. During the incident, he not only refused to disembark but also made threats of self-harm and claimed to possess an explosive device aboard the vessel, as per court documents.

On September 1st, he eventually surrendered and abandoned his makeshift vessel after being transported to a Coast Guard facility in Miami. Subsequent investigations revealed that the purported “bomb” was, in fact, a hoax.

Florida Man Apprehended After Attempting Atlantic Crossing in Homemade Hamster Wheel Vessel

Presently, Mr. Baluchi faces federal charges related to obstruction of boarding and violation of a Captain of the Port order. It remains uncertain whether he has secured legal representation for his impending criminal case.

This episode marks Mr. Baluchi’s latest run-in with the law due to his maritime exploits, conducted aboard a vessel he affectionately calls a “bubble.” In 2021, he was arrested following a rescue mission when he attempted to journey from Florida to New York but found himself adrift 30 miles south of his departure point. His previous misadventures include a 2014 incident requiring rescue near St. Augustine and another two years later, necessitating a rescue operation off the coast of Jupiter, near Palm Beach, Florida.

In interviews conducted previously, Mr. Baluchi had articulated his motivation for these journeys, citing his intention to raise funds for various causes, including support for the homeless population and the Coast Guard. He expressed, “My goal is to not only raise money for homeless people, raise money for the Coast Guard, raise money for the police department, raise money for the fire department. They are in public service, they do it for safety, and they help other people,” as conveyed in a 2021 interview with WOFL-TV in Orlando.

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