Man arrested trying to cross Atlantic in hamster wheel has attempted to run across ocean many times
| Last updated
A Florida man arrested for attempting to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a human-sized hamster ball has tried the stunt multiple times before.
Reza Ray Baluchi - an Iranian athlete and activist living in the US - was arrested on 1 September, 2023 after being spotted by the US Coast Guard 70 nautical miles off Tybee Island, Georgia.
Baluchi was seen in a human-sized and powered hamster wheel, apparently on his way to London.
However, it's not the first time the activist has been intercepted on his journey across the seas, with Baluchi having attempted to run across the Atlantic in his 'bubble' multiple times before.
In his latest attempt, Baluchi and police are reported as having been in a three-day standoff prior to his return to shore and arrest on 1 September.
During the stand off, Baluchi allegedly threatened to harm himself with a knife if authorities attempted to arrest him. He's also reported as claiming he had a bomb onboard his ball - the claim was later found to be false.
But what went down during Baluchi's other attempts?
Prior to his failed expedition last week, Baluchi had attempted to reach New York in his human-powered ball in 2021.
Setting off from St Augustine, Florida, he hoped to embark on a three-to-four-week journey up to the US city.
Unfortunately, the trip was cut short when Baluchi realised his GPS and charging cables were missing from his homemade ball - named a 'hydro pod' - and so he abandoned his expedition and climbed ashore in Flagler County, Florida.
2016 - Three attempts
Baluchi took to the seas from Pompano Beach, Florida in April, 2016, despite being denied permission by the Coast Guard for another solo expedition in 2015 and even being threatened with imprisonment and a hefty fine.
He hoped to travel through Jacksonville, Bermuda, Haiti, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Key West and travelled in a new 'hydro pod' for this expedition - costing $22,000 (£17,500) - after his first creation was left adrift at sea and damaged beyond repair in his first feat.
Alas, two days into the anticipated five-month journey, he was brought back ashore by the Coast Guard just off the coast of Jupiter, Florida.
That didn't stop Baluchi from making a third attempt the same year, however, he was once more escorted back to shore by the Coast Guard.
Similarly to his latest attempt, Baluchi is reported as having threatened to harm himself if authorities intervened in his journey.
Subsequently once back on dry land, the activist was sent for evaluation at a psychiatric hospital.
Baluchi first set sail in his 'hydro pod' - the first version costing the activist $4,500 (£3,500) to hand-make - in 2013, hoping to travel from Pompano Beach to Bermuda, Puerto Rico and then back to Miami.
However, his plans were quickly thwarted when the Coast Guard spotted him 70 miles offshore of St Augustine and dragged him back to land, deeming the expedition far too risky for the activist to undertake.
The rescue mission to pick him up - a Coast Guard crew member reporting Baluchi had set off one of his distress beacons - cost around $140,000 (£111,000) and involved not only a rescue ship, but helicopter and airplane too.
As a result of his latest attempt, Baluchi now faces charges of obstruction of a boarding and violation of a Captain of the Port order.
If you were wondering what the point of all of these attempts is?
Well, his website 'Run with Reza' states: "Reza Baluchi has a dream to run thru all 194 recognized countries in the world to inspire us and unite us as a people.
"His dream is to share the lives of people around the world with complete transparency. He will broadcast the experience with a live camera and create a film. Stories of the human spirit and culture shall be told thru the eyes of our children as students."
In an exclusive interview with FOX 35, Baluchi also explained: "My goal is to 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. They are in public service, they do it for safety, and they help other people."
The activist resolved: "I’ll never give up my dream. They stop me four or five times, but I never give up."