bubble runner rescued
Authorities say a Florida man bidding to reach Bermuda in an inflatable bubble has been voluntarily rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Coast Guard Petty Officer Mark Barney said that long-distance runner Reza Baluchi was picked up Sunday off Florida and his “hydropod” was being towed to shore.
Barney says the man set out from Pompano Beach on Saturday despite receiving an April 15 letter from the Coast Guard warning him not to depart. The Coast Guard said it had reviewed Baluchi’s plan and determined it to be unsafe.
“In November 2014, you attempted this voyage unsuccessful and ultimately placed an enormous financial burden on the taxpayers to conduct a rescue,” Capt. A.J. Gould wrote in the April 15 letter. “Additionally, it placed Coast Guard personnel at risk.”
The letter was posed by the Coast Guard on Twitter.
“This was an inherently unsafe voyage attempt that put the lives of Mr. Baluchi and other mariners in danger,” Capt. Austin Gould, commander of Coast Guard Sector Miami, said in a statement. “This proposed adventure unnecessarily risked the lives of Mr. Baluchi, the maritime public, and our Coast Guard men and women.
“Additionally, the Coast Guard is obligated to ensure taxpayer money and resources are used efficiently and appropriately.”
Baluchi tried to make a similar attempt to reach Bermuda in 2014 and had to be rescued. He was picked up that time about 70 nautical miles east of St. Augustine.
The Coast Guard released audio of its first exchange with Baluchi, who initially declined to disembark.
Coast Guard: “Based on this information, do you wish to stop your voyage and embark the Coast Guard vessel?”
Baluchi: “I did two years’ practice for this.”
Coast Guard: “I understand you’ve been practicing two years for this. So you are declining to stop your voyage at this time and embark the Coast Guard cutter?”
Baluchi: “I don’t know what I can do.”
Coast Guard: “You can either stop your voyage and get on the Coast Guard cutter and come back to shore or you can choose to continue on your trip, but the Coast Guard cutter will be leaving … ”
Baluchi: “Okay, I am continuing to go.”