26 April 2016
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Gannet tow the hydro pod off the coast of Jupiter, Florida, April 24, 2016. U.S. Coast Guard Photo
An adventure runner has failed at his second attempt to walk from Miami to Bermuda in an inflatable bubble, once again finding himself calling on the Coast Guard’s help despite warnings that the trip was a really, really bad idea.
The attempt by endurance runner Reza Baluchi to reach Bermuda ended early Sunday when he asked the U.S. Coast Guard’s help to be removed from his “hydro pod”. The Coast Guard said they were notified of Beluchi’s journey at about 2 a.m. Sunday when a boatcrew spotted him aboard his makeshift inflatable bubble approximately 7 miles off the coast of Jupiter, Florida. The Coast Guard stayed on scene through the night until Baluchi eventually threw in the towel and asked for assistance.
Sunday’s attempt comes after Baluchi first tried to make the trek November 2014, which ended with him getting lost in the gulf stream (he was literally asking of directions to Bermuda) and calling for rescue after 3 days into the voyage.
The second attempt at the ill-conceived voyage was made despite an order from the Coast Guard prohibiting him from embarking on the journey or face a large fine and lengthy prison sentence.
“This was an inherently unsafe voyage attempt that put the lives of Mr. Baluchi and other mariners in danger,” said Capt. Austin Gould, Coast Guard Sector Miami Commander. “This proposed adventure unnecessarily risked the lives of Mr. Baluchi, the maritime public, and our Coast Guard men and women. Additionally, the Coast Guard is obligated to ensure taxpayer money and resources are used efficiently and appropriately.”
Baluchi during his first attempt in November 2014
Prior to Sunday’s rescue, Coast Guard issued a formal letter to the runner April 15 ordering Baluchi to not embark on his sea-going adventure without ensuring certain safety measures were in place, citing specifically his refusal to use any sort of support vessel or other means of self-rescue.
“I am most concerned with your statement that ‘A support boat may put lives of others in danger…,’ as this shows a lack of planning and concern for your life as well, Coast Guard Captain A.J. Gould said in the Order letter. In November 2014, you attemted this voyage unsuccessfully and ultimately place an enormous financial burden on the taxpayers to conduct a rescue. Additional, it placed Coast Guard personnel at risk.”
The letter included a warning that if it the order not to depart was violated, he could face a criminal penalties of up to seven years in jail and a $40,000 fine.