A Florida man has been arrested after a bizarre three-day confrontation with the US Coast Guard at sea for attempting to cross the Atlantic in a human-powered hamster wheel.
Reza Baluchi is reportedly facing federal charges after he was found 70 miles off the Georgia coast as Hurricane Franklin was targeting the east coast The daily beast.
The USS Coast Guard cutter Valiant was in the area when they spotted Mr. Baluchi and intercepted him. When questioned during the August 26 incident, Mr Baluchi said he was en route to London on his ship.
“Based on the condition of the ship – which was afloat due to cables and buoys – USCG officials concluded that Baluchi was conducting an apparently unsafe voyage,” reads the criminal complaint filed in US District Court in Florida.
Mr Baluchi is said to have subsequently threatened to take his own life with a 12-inch knife if anyone tried to arrest him, and also claimed to have a bomb on board his boat.
On August 28, after days of trying to get Mr Baluchi aboard Coast Guard vessels, he admitted he didn't have a real bomb, and a day later officers managed to get him off board.
The suspect was brought ashore on September 1 at the USCG base in Miami Beach, Florida.
It is reportedly not the first time Mr Baluchi has attempted extreme travel on his ship.
This morning, the #FCSO responded to a call about a ship washing ashore in the Hammock area.
— Flagler County Sheriff's Office (@FlaglerSheriff) July 24, 2021
Court documents show he made voyages on similar vessels in 2014, 2016 and 2021, all of which ended in Coast Guard intervention.
In 2021, he made national headlines when he attempted to travel from Florida to New York but washed ashore after only 25 miles.
He is accused of obstructing embarkation and violating an order of the port captain.