Reza Baluchi has been apprehended while attempting to cross the Atlantic Ocean from Florida to Britain in a Hydro Pod. The device has been dubbed a home-made giant hamster wheel by US Coastguard officials.
The 51 year old adventurer was detained off Tybee Island, Georgia, after a three-day standoff with US coastguards.
He was just 70 nautical miles into his journey of 5000 nautical mile that was to see him walk along the river Thames into the heart of London.
He had designed and built his trans Atlantic vessel himself. It consists of a metal drum, with buoyant paddle wheels on either side. The idea behind his attempt was that he would become the first man to theoretically walk from Miami to London.
USCG officers filed criminal complaint against Reza Baluchi in a US District Court in Florida. They maintained he was conducting a manifestly unsafe voyage.
He was brought ashore on September 1 and now faces federal charges of obstruction of a boarding and violation of a Captain of the Port order.
In a bid to stop the USCG boarding his craft, Reza Baluchi had told officers his boat was booby trapped.
He had shown them two wires and explained the boat was wired to explode if he touched them together. Reza also threatened officers showing them a 12 inch knife. He said he would kill himself if they tried to board his craft.
After a two day stand off Reza Baluchi finally admitted that there was no bomb on his hamster wheel and, after another day, he joined the officers on the Coastguard Cutter, USCG Valiant.
This is not the first time Reza Baluchi has fallen foul of the law. He has attempted to use his hamster wheel to travel across the ocean in 2014, 2016 and 2021.
On each occasion he was intercepted by the US Coast Guard.
Claiming he was taking part in a charity endurance run, he was first arrested for attempting to walk from Pompano Beach in Florida to Bermuda and then back to Miami. That was in 2014.
In 2016 he tried again but was given a written warning by the Coast Guard telling not to attempt the five month trip. They deemed it too dangerous.
But he ignored the advice anyway and launched his homemade hydro pod bubble and was promptly arrested.
In 2021 he tried to travel from Miami to New York City for charity but was washed ashore on a Florida beach not far from where he set off. Concerned residents reported seeing the unusual cylindrical vessel on the beach at Hammock, near Miami.
When Deputies from the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office arrived on the scene, they found Reza Baluchi safe and uninjured inside.
Baluchi reportedly told the authorities he was trying to run in the floating vessel from Florida to New York to raise money for charity but ‘came across some complications that brought him back to shore,’ the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office explained in a Facebook post following the rescue.