Florida Man Arrested For Attempting To Cross Atlantic In Human Hamster Wheel, Threatening To Blow Self Up

Posted September 7, 2023 by with 3 comments

Fun. Via NBC:

A man from Florida who was trying to cross the Atlantic in a “human-powered hamster wheel” was arrested by the U.S. Coast Guard, according to court documents.

Reza Baluchi was 70 miles off of Georgia’s coast when officers found him during a “manifestly unsafe voyage” while Hurricane Franklin was headed toward the area, the U.S. Coast Guard said in a statement on Facebook Wednesday.

The Coast Guard said the vessel “was afloat as a result of wiring and buoys.” Baluchi was arrested on Aug. 28 after a “bizarre three-day standoff” with authorities, according to the release.

At one point, Baluchi, who refused to get off the vessel he was on, displayed “two knives and threatened to hurt himself” if officers onboarded, according to federal charges filed against him in the Southern District of Florida.

He also “threatened to blow himself up.”


There was no real bomb on the hamster wheel, thankfully. This isn’t the first time the man tried to cross the Atlantic, as nearly 10 years ago he was found 70 miles off the Florida coast in an inflatable bubble. He was reportedly headed for the Bermuda Triangle. Baluchi’s been charged with “obstruction of boarding,” which is something I’d never heard of before (probably because it’s a crime involving sea vessels). Depending on how this is prosecuted, he could face up to 15 years in prison. Details on the charge:

It shall be unlawful for the master, operator, or person in charge of a vessel of the United States, or a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, to knowingly fail to obey an order by an authorized Federal law enforcement officer to heave to that vessel.

It shall be unlawful for any person on board a vessel of the United States, or a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, to:

—forcibly resist, oppose, prevent, impede, intimidate, or interfere with a boarding or other law enforcement action authorized by any Federal law or to resist a lawful arrest; or

—provide materially false information to a Federal law enforcement officer during a boarding of a vessel regarding the vessel’s destination, origin, ownership, registration, nationality, cargo, or crew.