Coast Guard to 'Bubble Man' Running on Ocean: Um, No

Coast Guard says safety first, stops ultrarunner after just 2 days
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 25, 2016 6:52 AM CDT
Coast Guard to 'Bubble Man' Running on Ocean: Um, No
Ray Baluchi is picked up by the Coast Guard on Sunday.   (US Coast Guard)

Ray "Reza" Baluchi set out to "show children that anything is possible if you want it." Unfortunately for him, the US Coast Guard set out to show him that safety comes first. Baluchi, a 44-year-old ultra marathoner, planned to run from Pompano Beach, Fla., across the Atlantic to the Bahamas, Haiti, and Cuba, among other locales, and then back to Florida in a giant handcrafted bubble, the Sun Sentinel reports. But the trip that was supposed to take five months came to an end Sunday, just two days in, after the Coast Guard picked up Baluchi and his bubble and hauled them back to Florida. "Adventure runner's voyage ends," the Coast Guard tweets, "after he violated a USCG order not to embark." That order came in the form of an April 15 letter to Baluchi in which the Coast Guard says he is "not authorized to depart" on the "manifestly unsafe" mission.

It was Baluchi's second try crossing the ocean in his "hydro pod," ABC News reports. And it was his second time being pulled out of the water by the Coast Guard: He was rescued 70 miles off the coast of St. Augustine, Fla., during an October 2014 attempt after his GPS fell into the water. That rescue, per the Sun Sentinel, cost $140,000 and, the Coast Guard says, placed personnel at risk. Having ignored the order not to embark on this latest journey, Baluchi faces up to seven years in prison, fines of up to $40,000, and the bill for his latest rescue. But a rep for Baluchi, known for running 11,720 miles through the contiguous US, says he is undeterred: "Yes, he will definitely try again." (More Florida stories.)

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