An ultra-marathoner trying to “run” from Florida to Bermuda in a human-powered inflatable bubble was rescued Saturday morning after he signaled for help, the Coast Guard said.
Reza Baluchi, according to his website, has set a goal of running across more than 190 recognized nations to encourage world peace. CNN ran a story about him in 2012.
The Coast Guard first encountered Baluchi on Wednesday when they found him in the bubble 70 nautical miles east of St. Augustine, disoriented and asking for directions to Bermuda, a Coast Guard press release said. It was not clear when he started his quest.
The Coast Guard described the craft as a “hydro pod bubble” and a man in a 2013 YouTube video called a Baluchi bubble “a big hamster wheel.” It moved along the ground as Baluchi ran inside.
In the press release, the Coast Guard said Baluchi had protein bars, bottled water, a GPS and a satellite phone. The Coast Guard asked him to quit his journey because he didn’t have enough supplies but he wouldn’t leave his vessel.
The Coast Guard monitored his progress and on Saturday morning Baluchi activated his personal locating beacon, the Coast Guard said.
Sent to rescue Balachi were a Coast Guard HC-130 airplane and MH-60 helicopter along with the vessel Maersk Montana, the Coast Guard said.
He was exhausted and taken to the Coast Guard air station in Clearwater, where his medical condition was evaluated. There were no reported injuries, the Coast Guard said.
“Part of his effort was to make world peace but he got caught up in the Gulf Stream,” said Coast Guard public affairs specialist Mark Barney. “The chances of muscling out of the Gulf Stream were pretty low.”
Baluchi could not be reached for comment, but a video posted on Baluchi’s Facebook page described his plans to travel in the bubble across the Caribbean, as well as his other athletic exploits.
The CNN.com story quoted Baluchi saying he’d run across the United States twice and around its perimeter once. He fled Iran to escape persecution, he said. Now he is an American citizen.
“Reza doesn’t listen to anyone,” Davis Hyslop, a businessman and one of Baluchi’s supporters, said in the 2012 story. “He has these outsized ambitions that he sets his mind to. He’s a success above and beyond anyone’s expectations. It’s almost biblical. But you gotta be a little crazy to undertake such an endeavor, right?”