Tourism

Former pro athlete washes up on Florida beach after trying to “run” to New York using bizarre “hydro pod”

A former pro athlete’s attempt to run on water went awry over the weekend when his hamster wheel-like flotation device washed up on a beach in Florida.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Reza Baluchi, a former professional cyclist, stunned beachgoers at Flagler county over the weekend when he popped out of a giant flotation device that had just emerged from the ocean.

Baluchi was attempting to use the contraption to “run” from St Augustine in Florida to New York, The New York Times reported.

However, instead of travelling around 1,600 kilometres north, he wound up almost 50 kilometres south.

Baluchi told local media he had spent thousands of dollars and almost 10 years constructing the “hydro pod” which is equipped with a satellite phone, solar panels, a water filtration system, wetsuits and a stockpile of two-minute noodles and granola.

In a Facebook post, local police said concerned citizens told them about a “vessel” washing ashore.

“We are happy to announce that the occupant of the vessel is safe with no injuries! #SeeSomethingSaySomething,” the post said.

Police said Baluchi left St Augustine on Friday to head to New York, but returned to shore after facing “complications”.


The former cyclist said he realised a day into his journey that his backup GPS was stolen forcing him to cut his journey short.

“I open the top door and jump out,” he said, according to The New York Times.

“They’re laughing. They’re taking pictures of me. I know what I’m doing. I am not dumb.”

The US Coast Guard was called to the scene to take over from police and determine if his pod followed Marnie safety regulations.

It was determined that he would not be allowed to undertake his voyage in the future until he met certain safety regulations including having an escort to support the pod.

“Failure to comply with captain of the port orders is punishable by a civil penalty of up to $95,881,” a spokesman for the US Coast Guard told The New York Times.

“There may also be criminal penalties for violating the order.”

In 2014, Baluchi was fined almost $250,000 for trying to travel from Miami to Bermuda in his hydro pod, only to lose his GPS device about 100 kilometres from St. Augustine prompting a rescue mission, according to Local 10.

The Const Guard said in a Twitter post that his rescue had placed an “enormous financial burden” on taxpayers, and that he was ordered not to depart on a similar trip in 2016.


Featured image source: Facebook/flaglersheriff


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