Florida man who tried to ‘run to London’ across the Atlantic in human-sized hamster wheel ‘banned from sea’

8 September 2023, 09:54 | Updated: 8 September 2023, 09:56

Reza Baluchi's 'run to London' was intercepted by the Coast Guard.
Reza Baluchi's 'run to London' was intercepted by the Coast Guard. Picture: Facebook/Twitter

By Jenny Medlicott

A man has been barred from travelling on the ocean after he attempted to cross the Atlantic in a human-sized hamster wheel.

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Reza Baluchi, 44, has been instructed he cannot travel to the ocean or board a vessel on the ocean after his surprising stunt.

He faces charges of obstruction of a boarding and violation of a Captain of the Port order after he was rescued 70 miles off the Georgia coast in a human-sized hamster wheel.

Now court papers show that Baluchi has been released under a $250,000 bond agreement - but with some specific conditions.

Under the agreement, he is now banned from travelling outside the Southern District of Florida and “may not go to the ocean or board a vessel on the ocean” while his case is underway.

Baluchi said he was planning to travel to London on his vessel after they questioned him.

His website reads: “Reza Baluchi has a dream to run thru all 194 recognised countries in the world to inspire us and unite us as a people (sic)".

The criminal complaint filed in the US District Court against him said: “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.”

Read more: Florida man who tried to ‘run to London’ across the Atlantic in human-sized hamster wheel arrested after standoff

Read more: Married couple discover they are related but refuse to break up

Reza Baluchi signed a bond agreement amid the charges.
Reza Baluchi signed a bond agreement amid the charges. Picture: Facebook

The “manifestly unsafe” vessel was described as a giant metal drum, with inflatable buoys on either side and paddles powered by a runner inside.

Mr Baluchi was reportedly unable to provide officials with registration papers for his water vessel before he claimed he was going to run the hamster wheel to London.

The man then threatened to kill himself with a 12-inch knife if anybody tried to stop him from completing the journey, and then went onto claim he had a bomb on board the vessel.

After a two-day standoff, where the Coast Guard attempted to get him to disembark the vessel, he finally admitted on August 28 that he did not have a real bomb on board.

Officers were then able to get him to leave the vessel a day later at the USCG Base in Miami Beach, Florida.

Reza Baluchi tried to 'run' to London in the human-sized hamster wheel.
Reza Baluchi tried to 'run' to London in the human-sized hamster wheel. Picture: Twitter

The criminal complaint also read: "The Vessel was occupied with one male passenger, later identified as Baluchi.

“Upon arriving at the Vessel, USCG officers asked standard boarding questions, to include requesting the registration of the Vessel.

"Baluchi informed the USCG officers that he had a Florida registration on board his Vessel, but he was unable to locate it.

"He also advised USCG officers his intended destination was London, England."

Court documents suggest this was not the first time Mr Baluchi has attempted such extreme voyages.

In 2014, 2016 and 2021 he attempted similar journeys but they all ended in Coast Guard intervention, according to the documents.

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