Once again, ultra-marathon runner Reza Baluchi has attempted to cross a vast expanse of water, from Florida to Bermuda, in a plastic bubble. Once again, the Coast Guard had to pluck him out of the water to save his life.
Baluchi is an American immigrant, born in Iran. In a 2012 interview with CNN he said he left his home country after being imprisoned for his political beliefs.
When he was released from prison Baluchi traveled to Germany with the Iranian cycling team. He never returned.
“I got tired of having no freedom,” he told CNN. “I would wear a T-shirt and they would stop me. I’d grow out my hair and they’d make me cut it. I traveled out of the country with the cycling team and never came back.”
In 2012, Baluchi arrived in the United States—by mistake. He claims he was riding his bike through the Mexican desert and got lost. “I was 27 miles in Arizona and I had no idea,” he said. “I was awakened one morning by a helicopter hovering over my tent. It was border patrol. When they told me I was actually in the U.S. I started crying.”
After spending five months in a detention center, he was granted political asylum and vowed to to run across America for the victims of 9/11. Since then, he’s run—not only from New York to Los Angeles, but also around the perimeter of the United States, raising money for various charities.
But in October of 2014, Baluchi bit off more than he could chew. After constructing what he called a “HydroPod,” he attempted to use it to walk across the Caribbean. A promotional video from that time, claims that Baluchi was doing this to “…raise funds for the world’s forgotten children.” and it urges viewers to donate to “planetunity.com”
That website, if it ever existed, is gone, but there is a plantunity.com, which is clearly the work of Baluchi and his team. The site encourages visitors to donate to “…help children and communities all over the world.” although it never really gets around to specifying how, exactly, it does that.
Baluchi’s 2014 trip, was unsuccessful, and the coast guard had to pluck him from the water, 70 nautical miles east of St. Augustine, Florida.
But that didn’t stop Baluchi from trying again. Despite warnings from the Coast Guard not to embark on another ocean walk, on Sunday, they had to pull him from the water. They were, to say the least, unamused.
#BreakingNews Baluchi's 2014 attempt placed enormous financial burden on taxpayers for his rescue. He was recently ordered not to depart.— USCGSoutheast (@USCGSoutheast) April 24, 2016
They even shared the letter they sent to Baluchi, where they threatened him with fines and jail time if went ahead with his plans.
Although they didn’t release a figure this time, according to CNN affiliate, WPLG, Baluchi’s 2014 rescue cost the Coast Guard $144,000.