Man tried to cross Atlantic in human-powered hamster wheel

The Floridian repeat offender told the authorities that he planned on wheeling himself to London, England.
Sejal Sharma
Reza Baluchi's floating vessel
Reza Baluchi's floating vessel

Flagler County Sheriff Office 

A Florida man was arrested in the middle of the ocean after he was found floating in a homemade vessel resembling a hamster wheel. But how did he get there in the first place?

It started on August 26 when the US Coast Guard was transiting in the Atlantic Ocean in preparation for an intense hurricane when they found a weird-looking vessel in the middle of the ocean, 70 miles (110 km) off the coast of Georgia. There was a man aboard the vessel. He told the authorities that he planned on wheeling himself to London, England.

Vessel has peddles to propel it

When the Coast Guard asked the man for registration papers, he assured the men that the vehicle was registered but was unable to produce papers. Looking closely at the vessel, the Coast Guard was able to identify home supplies like wires and buoys and deemed the vehicle unsafe for the voyage.

The Guard informed the man that he needed to disembark the vessel as it was unsafe, but the man refused and what followed was three days of headache for the US Coast Guard.

The man, identified as Reza Ray Baluchi, threatened to kill himself by using a 12-inch knife, which he said he was carrying aboard the vehicle. The next day, when officers tried boarding Baluchi’s vessel, he brandished two knives and threatened to cut himself if the men continued. Baluchi also said he had a bomb aboard, which he would use to blow himself and the vessel up.

The next day, on August 28, attempts were made to get Baluchi to deboard but he refused. The Guard offered him food, water, and predictions of the upcoming hurricane. But he still wouldn’t get off the vessel.

On August 29, after three days of trials and tribulations, Baluchi agreed and finally disembarked. He later told the Coast Guard that the bomb had been fake.

Not his first brush with the law

A case has been filed against Baluchi in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida. A special agent has filed the case, Michael A. Parez, of the Coast Guard Investigative Service, which provides for Coast Guard special agents to conduct investigations of actual, alleged, or suspected criminal activity.

This isn’t the first time Baluchi, a marathon runner, has pulled something off like this. In the affidavit signed by Parez, it is mentioned that Baluchi tried similar voyages in 2014, 2016, and 2021. In 2015, he was served an order by the Commander of the Coast Guard’s seventh district, which identified his vessel from 2014 as manifestly unsafe and warned him to take special care of any subsequent voyages. He was also ordered to get approval for his vessel before setting off on any such adventures.

Baluchi met with a similar situation in 2016 and interdicted in the middle of his journey. In 2021, he was arrested after being rescued while trying to ride from Florida to New York after drifting 30 miles south of his departure point, reported BBC.

Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
message circleSHOW COMMENT (1)chevron
Job Board