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Florida man arrested after trying to cross Atlantic in 'human-powered hamster wheel'

It isn't the first time Reza Baluchi has tried to get across the ocean in a human-powered object.
A "human-powered hamster wheel."
A "human-powered hamster wheel."U.S. Coast Guard Via Facebook

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

Reza Baluchi was 70 miles off Georgia when officers found him during a "manifestly unsafe voyage" while Hurricane Franklin was headed toward the area, the Coast Guard said Wednesday in a statement on Facebook.

The Coast Guard said the vessel "was afloat as a result of wiring and buoys."

Baluchi was arrested Aug. 28 after a "bizarre three-day standoff" with authorities, the release said.

At one point, Baluchi, who refused to get off the vessel, displayed "two knives and threatened to hurt himself" if officers boarded, according to charges filed in U.S. District Court for Southern Florida.

He also "threatened to blow himself up," at which point Coast Guard officers on site contacted the Navy to determine the location of the alleged bomb, but Baluchi later revealed that the bomb was not real, according to the complaint.

Baluchi told the Coast Guard crew that he was trying to travel to London in his “hydro-pod” vessel.

It is not the first time authorities have found Baluchi trying to cross the ocean on a human-powered vessel. In 2014, the Coast Guard found him 70 miles off Florida in an inflatable bubble during an attempt to run around the Bermuda Triangle.

Baluchi is charged with obstruction of boarding. Court filings show he signed the conditions of bond of $250,000. His attorney has been ordered to appear, according to court filings.

Baluchi and the public defender representing him did not immediately respond to requests for comment.