A man in Florida is facing federal charges after he tried to head out into the Atlantic Ocean in a massive hamster wheel and ended up in a three-day standoff with the United States Coast Guard.
The U.S. Coast Guard spotted the rare hamster wheel 70 miles off the coast of Georgia. Inside the strange-looking wheel was Reza Baluchi, a 51-year-old Iranian-born athlete.
The Coast Guard stated in court documents that Baluchi threatened to kill himself with a 12-inch knife if anyone tried to arrest him. He also claimed that there was a bomb inside the wheel. The explosive device was later found to be fake.
It took three days for the Coast Guard to get Baluch out of the wheel, and he was charged with obstructing a boarding and violating a Captain of the Port order.
Baluchi claimed that he was trying to run all the way across the Atlantic Ocean to London. This isn’t the athlete’s first run-in with the Coast Guard. The service’s vessel intervened in three of his prior ocean journeys in 2014, 2016, and 2021.
After his failed 2021 voyage to Bermuda, Baluchi told WOFL, “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.”