MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – Coast Guard crews rescued a man who was in a hydro pod bubble 70 nautical miles east of St. Augustine.
Officials received a report that Reza Baluchi, a U.S. citizen, was floating in an inflatable bubble Wednesday.
He was reportedly disoriented and asking for directions to Bermuda.
The Coast Guard arrived and requested Baluchi terminate his trip due to the lack of supplies on board to sustain him.
On board, Baluchi had protein bars, bottled water, a GPS and a satellite phone.
After he refused to leave the bubble, the watch standers continued to monitor his movements until he activated his Personal Locating Beacon (PLB) Saturday morning.
Air crews out of Air Station Clearwater were sent to Baluchi’s location.
A rescue swimmer from the Jayhawk crew safely hoisted Baluchi from his inflatable raft into the helicopter.
There were no reports of any injuries.
A statement on Baluchi’s website said the Iranian exile had planned to make the 1,033-mile trip in his self-designed bubble to raise money “for children in need” and “to … inspire those that have lost hope for a better future.”
Baluchi has made headlines many times before with previous efforts to break long-distance running and cycling records , including one six-month journey in which he ran around the perimeter of the United States, and a seven-year bike trip that he said brought him across 55 countries on six continents. His self-professed mission is to promote world peace and unity. His perimeter run was to raise money for a children’s hospital, according to his website.
Baluchi was granted asylum in the United States in 2003 after being arrested in Iran for so-called pro-Western and anti-Islamic activities, including eating during the holy month of Ramadan, according to his lawyer at the time, Suzannah Maclay. Baluchi served 1 1/2 years in jail for associating with “counterrevolutionaries” and was hung from a tree by handcuffs for carrying a prohibited movie, Maclay said. The Coast Guard described him as a U.S. Citizen.
The “Hydro Pod” is a large bubble made of 3-mm- (0.11-inch)-thick plastic, Baluchi’s website, “Run With Reza” says. The bubble, which he propelled forward by running inside and pushing it with his arms, was housed in a large aluminum-type frame studded at intervals with inflated soccer balls. A man who appears on a video during the bubble’s construction compares it to a hamster wheel.
According to the site, Baluchi planned to run in the bubble in the mornings, cool off in the sea while leashed to the floating sphere, and sleep in a hammock inside it at night. In addition to the protein bars the Coast Guard said it found in his bubble, he planned to catch and eat fish, the site said.
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