Man floating in ‘bubble’ rescued by Coast Guard

MIAMI (LOG NEWS SERVICE) — The Coast Guard rescued a man attempting to reach Bermuda in a hydro pod “bubble” vessel from the Atlantic Ocean 70 nautical miles east of the Florida coast on Oct. 4 after he began suffering from fatigue and called for help.

The Coast Guard said it originally received a report of the man, Reza Baluchi, floating in the bubble on Oct. 1. When a Coast Guard cutter arrived on the scene they found Baluchi disoriented and inquiring how to get to Bermuda. Crew members conveyed the dangers of the proposed trip, warned him that he didn’t have enough supplies and asked him to end it, but he refused.

On Oct. 4 Baluchi activated his Personal Locator Beacon because of fatigue and Coast Guard rescue crews were dispatched. Baluchi was hosted aboard a Jayhawk helicopter and flown to a Coast Guard Air Station where emergency medical service personnel evaluated him, a Coast Guard spokeswoman said. 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 hydro pod bubble to “raise money for children in need” and “to…inspire those that have lost hope for a better future.”

Baluchi’s hydro pod is a large bubble made of 3 mm-(0.11-inch)-thick plastic, Baluchi’s website runwithreza.org said. The bubble, which he propelled forward by running inside and pushing it with him arms, was housed in a large aluminum-type frame studded at intervals with inflated soccer balls.

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, this site said.

In April of 2013 Baluchi tested his hydro pod, attempting a trip from Redondo Beach’s King Harbor to Catalina Island. The Log reported in its May 24, 2013 edition that Baluchi abandoned that attempt after about four hours into the trip. Other news sources reported that it was only after several failed attempts that he finally completed the trip.

— A report from The Associated Press was used in this story.

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