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Coast Guard rescues man running in bubble on the ocean — Again

The Coast Guard was none too happy about it either, and fired off a series of tweets noting that the would-be bubble runner, Reza Baluchi, had disobeyed safety orders, CNN reports. The agency notes he voluntarily ended his voyage.

Then the agency had to pick him up and tow his bubble, known as a “HydroPod,” back to shore on Sunday.

Baluchi, who is Iranian-born, lives in Pompano Beach, and that’s where he began his trip on Friday. It was supposed to last five months, reports. His website stated that he planned to traverse the 3,500-mile Bermuda triangle, meaning he would also visit Puerto Rico.

The infamous Bermuda Triangle.

The infamous Bermuda Triangle.
Wikimedia Commons Bermudan_kolmio.jpg: Alphaios

The Coast Guard warned Baluchi that he was “not authorized to depart” because the floating bubble and the water conditions were unsafe. The penalty for this is a seven-year confinement and a $40,000 fine.

“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 press release, The Washington Post reports. “This proposed adventure unnecessarily risked the lives of Mr. Baluchi, the maritime public, and our Coast Guard men and women.”

He added that the Coast Guard is under obligation to “ensure taxpayer money and resources are used efficiently and appropriately.”

Baluchi,44, first attempted the trip in October 2014, but his GPS device fell into the ocean about 70 miles off St. Augustine. The Coast Guard monitored his movements and rescued him from the ocean, and that cost a whopping $140,000, according to Coast Guard officials.

His website states that he hopes to sprinkle ashes from Ground Zero in the ocean along the way.

Baluchi told the Sun-Sentinel that he was conflicted about attempting the second trip, The Washington Post reports.

“I don’t know what to do; I don’t want to fight with the Coast Guard,” he said. “I want peace. I’m a lover, not a fighter.”

He wants to make the trip on his own, without assistance from others, he said.

“I don’t want a boat to follow me,” he said. “I know it’s dangerous inside the ocean, I don’t want to risk other people. It’s my choice, my life.”

That life has been amazing in some ways. Arrested in Iran for alleged “pro-Western and anti-Islamic activities,” he was granted asylum in the U.S. over a decade ago.

And as an ultramarathon runner, he’s hit the news in the past in his attempts to break records, including a six-month run around the perimeter of the U.S. and a seven-year-bike ride through 55 countries in six continents.

Now he’s upset that the effort he’s put into this mission may be scuppered.

He wanted to do something unique, he said. Something that would show kids that anything is possible, if they want it.

“Why are they doing this to me? This is the freedom I have?”

During his 2014 trip, the Coast Guard had to airlift him from the HydroPod, which was 70 miles from St. Augustine, Florida after someone called about a man traveling in a bubble who seemed disoriented near Miami’s coastline. The man was asking how to get to Bermuda.

When the Coast Guard stopped him initially, he refused to disembark. After several days he finally accepted the rescue offer.

In a letter, officials told him that the rescue cost at least $140,000 in taxpayer money, The Washington Post reported.

“Moreover, you placed Coast Guard personnel at risk when they flew 70 miles offshore in the middle of the night to hoist you from the ocean,” wrote Admiral S.A. Buschman last year.

The bubble is festooned with 36 buoyancy balls on both sides, and Baluchi was carrying a life vest that contained a water filter, a GPS tracking device and shark repellent.

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