News /

Florida Man Facing Federal Charges For Attempting to Run Across Atlantic Ocean in Floating 'Hamster Wheel'

A Florida man faces federal charges for attempting to run across the Atlantic Ocean in a floating “hamster wheel.”

Ray “Reza” Baluchi, 51, was arrested after a three-day standoff near Tybee Island, Georgia — just 70 miles into his planned 5000 nautical mile journey.

Baluchi is an Iranian national who lives in Florida. He has made similar attempts in 2014, 2016 and 2021.

The “hydro pod” was made with a metal cage and floating balls around each edge to make it buoyant.

The USS Coast Guard intercepted the attempt on August 26, but Baluchi refused to leave the wheel, claiming that he was armed with a bomb and a knife and would kill himself before allowing them to arrest him.

After two days, Baluchi admitted that he did not have a bomb. A day later, he surrendered and boarded the Coast Guard boat.

Baluchi was brought to land on September 1. He has now been charged with obstruction of boarding and violation of a Captain of the Port order, both federal.

“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 filed in US District Court in Florida stated, according to a report from the Daily Mail.

The adventurer claimed he was making the trip to raise money for charity and often participates in charity endurance runs on land.

During his 2014 attempt to run on water from Pompano Beach in Florida to Bermuda and then back to Miami — but was stopped by the Coast Guard.

In 2016, “he was given a written warning by the Coast Guard not to attempt the five month trip, which they deemed too dangerous. But Baluchi ignored this and launched his homemade hydro pod bubble from Pompano Beach, Florida on Saturday, bound for Bermuda via the Caribbean,” according to the Mail report.

In 2021, Baluchi planned to travel from Miami to New York City — but washed ashore not far from where he had set off.

The Flager County Sheriff’s Department wrote on Facebook at the time, “𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐨𝐜𝐜𝐮𝐩𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐚𝐝𝐯𝐢𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐡𝐞 𝐥𝐞𝐟𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐒𝐭. 𝐀𝐮𝐠𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐞 𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐚 𝐲𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐝𝐚𝐲 𝐭𝐨 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐍𝐞𝐰 𝐘𝐨𝐫𝐤, 𝐛𝐮𝐭 𝐜𝐚𝐦𝐞 𝐚𝐜𝐫𝐨𝐬𝐬 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐛𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐡𝐢𝐦 𝐛𝐚𝐜𝐤 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐫𝐞. 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐔𝐒 𝐂𝐨𝐚𝐬𝐭 𝐆𝐮𝐚𝐫𝐝 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐚𝐫𝐫𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐝 𝐨𝐧 𝐬𝐜𝐞𝐧𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐬𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐞𝐧𝐬𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐯𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐞𝐥/𝐨𝐜𝐜𝐮𝐩𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐔𝐒𝐂𝐆 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐢𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐫 𝐬𝐚𝐟𝐞𝐭𝐲 𝐦𝐨𝐯𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐰𝐚𝐫𝐝.”

“My goal is not only raise money for homeless people, raise money for the Coast Guard, raise money for the police department, raise money for the fire department,” Baluchi told FOX 35 News. “They are in public service, they do it for safety and they help other people.”

*For corrections please email [email protected]*