Florida Man Arrested After Trying To Cross Atlantic In Hamster Wheel
A man in Florida is facing federal charges after he was caught about 70 miles off the coast of Georgia in a giant, homemade hamster wheel. He has done stunts like this before. This time, he was attempting to "run" to London.
Reza Baluchi, a 44-year-old marathon runner from Florida, was arrested by the US Coast Guard after attempting to "run to London" across the Atlantic Ocean in a homemade vessel resembling a hamster wheel.
The makeshift contraption had paddles designed to propel it forward as the wheel revolved. However, his fourth attempt at such a voyage ended 70 miles off Tybee Island, Georgia, with Coast Guard intervention, as had his previous three voyages.
Officials considered the vessel afloat as a result of wiring and buoys to be a manifestly unsafe voyage.
Refusing To Leave The Wheel
During the hurricane season, Baluchi refused to leave the wheel vessel, threatened to kill himself, and claimed that he had a bomb on board. After being brought to a Coast Guard base in Miami, he surrendered and abandoned his vessel, revealing the "bomb" was fake. He now faces federal charges of obstruction of boarding and violation of a Captain of the Port order.
His Other Attempt
This was not his first arrest for attempting to voyage across the ocean. He has been rescued twice before: first, near St. Augustine in 2014 and then off the coast of Jupiter in 2016.
Earlier in 2021, he was arrested for being rescued while trying to ride from Florida to New York after drifting 30 miles south of his departure point.
In previous interviews, Baluchi claimed that he attempts such voyages to raise money for homeless people, the Coast Guard, police, and fire departments. He stated that their public service aimed for safety and helped other people. It remains unclear whether he has obtained legal representation for his current case.