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Coast Guard rescues Florida man from unsuccessful bubble journey to Bermuda

By
Allen Cone
The U.S. Coast Guard retrieved Reza Baluchi's hydro pod Sunday, ending his trip from South Florida to Bermuda. Photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard.
The U.S. Coast Guard retrieved Reza Baluchi's "hydro pod" Sunday, ending his trip from South Florida to Bermuda. Photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard.

POMPANO BEACH, Fla., April 24 (UPI) -- The U.S. Coast Guard retrieved an endurance runner after he ended his aquatic voyage from South Florida to the Bermuda Triangle in his "hydropod" early Sunday.

It was the second failed attempt for Reza Baluchi, an Iranian-born man who lives in Pompano Beach. His planned five-month trip started Friday in Pompano Beach.

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The Coast Guard had warned Baluchi, 44, he was "not authorized to depart" on his journey because his vessel and water conditions were unsafe. The penalty was a seven-year confinement and a $40,000 fine.

In October 2014, his GPS device fell into the ocean about 70 miles off St. Augustine. The Coast Guard began monitoring his movements and rescued him from the ocean. That trip cost more than $140,000, Coast Guard officials said.

In a letter dated April 15 to Baluchi, Capt. A.J. Gould wrote, "any future voyages not cleared through my will be terminated as manifestly unsafe."

The bubble has 36 buoyancy balls on each side and Baluchi was equipped with a life vest containing a water filter, a GPS tracking device and shark repellent.

"I don't know what to do. I don't want to fight with the Coast Guard. I want peace. I'm a lover, not a fighter," he said Friday to the Sun Sentinel in Florida. "I want to find a lawyer to help me."

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Bermuda is 965 miles north of St. Thomas, 1,015 miles northeast of Pompano Beach.

According to his website, Baluchi planned to follow the 3,500-mile Bermuda triangle, which would also take him to Puerto Rico.

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