Florida man arrested after attempting to cross Atlantic in ‘human-powered hamster wheel’

A man from Florida who was trying to cross the Atlantic in a “human-powered hamster wheel” was arrested by the U.S. Coast Guard, according to court documents.

Reza Baluchi was 70 miles off of Georgia’s coast when officers found him during a “manifestly unsafe voyage” while Hurricane Franklin was headed toward the area, the U.S. Coast Guard said in a statement on Facebook Wednesday.

The Coast Guard said the vessel “was afloat as a result of wiring and buoys.”

Baluchi was arrested on Aug. 28 after a “bizarre three-day standoff” with authorities, according to the release.

At one point, Baluchi, who refused to get off the vessel he was on, displayed “two knives and threatened to hurt himself” if officers onboarded, according to federal charges filed against him in the Southern District of Florida.

He also “threatened to blow himself up,” at which point Coast Guard officers on site contacted the U.S. Navy to determine the location of the alleged bomb, but Baluchi later revealed that the bomb was not real, according to the complaint.

Baluchi told the Coast Guard crew that he was attempting to travel to London in his “hydro-pod” vessel.

This is not the first time authorities found Baluchi attempting to cross the ocean on a human-powered vessel. In 2014, the Coast Guard found him 70 miles off the Florida coast in an inflatable bubble during an attempt to run around the Bermuda Triangle.

Baluchi is charged with obstruction of boarding. Court filings show Baluchi signed the conditions of bond of $250,000. His attorney has been ordered to appear, according to court filings.

Both Baluchi and the public defender representing him did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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