A Florida man, Reza Baluchi, found himself in a bizarre situation when he attempted to cross the Atlantic Ocean using a human-powered hamster wheel.
This audacious endeavor led to his arrest and subsequent federal charges after a three-day standoff with the US Coast Guard.
Baluchi was located approximately 70 miles off the coast of Georgia, with Hurricane Franklin approaching the eastern seaboard. The US Coast Guard cutter Valiant was patrolling the area and intercepted Baluchi’s unique vessel.
When questioned about his intentions on August 26th, Baluchi claimed he was en route to London.
The condition of his vessel, which was kept afloat with wires and buoys, prompted USCG officers to deem his voyage manifestly unsafe, as detailed in the criminal complaint filed in US District Court in Florida. Baluchi further escalated the situation by threatening to harm himself with a 12-inch knife and asserting that he had a bomb on board.
After several days of negotiations, Baluchi finally admitted on August 28th that he did not possess a real bomb. On August 29th, officers successfully convinced him to disembark. He was brought ashore on September 1st at the USCG Base in Miami Beach, Florida.
This was not Baluchi’s first attempt at an extreme voyage with a similar vessel. Court documents reveal prior attempts in 2014, 2016, and 2021, all of which required Coast Guard intervention. In 2021, he gained national attention when his journey from Florida to New York ended after just 25 miles.
Baluchi now faces charges of obstruction of a boarding and violation of a Captain of the Port order.