Iran-born man arrested for trying to 'run' to London via Atlantic Ocean

Reza Baluchi was aboard 'hamster wheel'-like vessel when US Coast Guard approached him

Reza Baluchi in Lake Park, Florida, with his seafaring vessel in 2016. AP
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The US Coast Guard has arrested an Iran-born man for “conducting a manifestly unsafe voyage” across the Atlantic Ocean during Hurricane Idalia.

Reza Baluchi, a resident of the state of Florida, is being charged with obstruction of a boarding and a breach of a captain of the port order after failing to provide officials with registration when he was approached in August, according to a court document shared by Fox News.

Mr Baluchi was reportedly attempting to “run” across the Atlantic Ocean from the south-eastern coast of the US towards London via a device that operated like a hamster wheel. The distance from Florida to London is about 7,000km.

“US Coast Guard Seventh District crews terminated the manifestly unsafe voyage of Mr Reza Baluchi and rescued him from his makeshift hydro-pod vessel approximately 60 nautical miles off the coast of Georgetown, South Carolina, ahead of Hurricane Idalia,” a statement issued on Wednesday read.

“The Coast Guard is working with the US Attorney's Office to pursue federal charges against Mr Reza Baluchi for his alleged criminal conduct on the high seas.”

When officials approached Mr Baluchi on August 26 and asked for registration, he was unable to locate the documents he claimed to have. They then asked him to disembark his vessel.

“Based on the condition of the vessel – which was afloat as a result of wiring and buoys – USCG officers determined Baluchi was conducting a manifestly unsafe voyage,” the criminal complaint stated.

In response to officials' requests to produce documentation, Mr Baluchi said he would attempt to take his own life with knives he possessed.

He also stated that there was a bomb on board but he later said “the bomb was not real”.

This is not the first time the distance runner has attempted to run on water with his contraption: in 2021, he was arrested when he tried to make a voyage from Florida to New York on the water.

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