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Peace activist and ultrarunner rescued from inflatable sea bubble


-By Scott Leitch

An ultrarunner and peace activist was rescued off the shore of Florida on Saturday by the U.S. Coast Guard while attempting to navigate the Bermuda Triangle from St. Augustine, Fla. to Bermuda in an inflatable bubble wheel, an almost 1,700 km trip.

Reza Baluchi, who claimed to be making the trip in support of world peace, was first encountered on Wednesday by the Coast Guard, according to a press release. He had with him in his inflatable bubble — similar to a floating hamster wheel for humans — protein bars, bottled water, a GPS unit and a satellite phone. Appearing disoriented, he refused rescue and was asking for directions to Bermuda. The Coast Guard monitored his movement and he was rescued Saturday morning after activating his personal location beacon.

The rescue involved a HC-130 rescue plane and an MH-60 rescue helicopter. A press officer for the coast guard explained the inflatable wheel likely got caught in the Gulf Stream and was not powerful enough to escape the moving water, making it unlikely Baluchui would ever have reached Bermuda.

An American citizen, Baluchi is originally from Iran but fled to the United States after being persecuted in his home country for spreading anti-Islamic messages and eating during the holy month of Ramadan.

Baluchi has not commented on the rescue.