Ocean Rescue Of Long Distance Runner In Inflatable Bubble Cost $140K

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

The rescue effort to save a long-distance runner who attempted to run on the ocean from Florida to the Bermuda Triangle in an inflatable bubble cost the Coast Guard $144,000.

The Coast Guard allegedly warned Reza Baluchi, a U.S. citizen, that there was no guarantee they would be able to rescue him when he set off in a human-powered bubble towards Bermuda.

Baluchi, who planned to run more than a thousand miles for charity, said he would do it anyway. He had protein bars, bottled water, a GPS and a satellite phone on board the bubble.

The Coast Guard received a report that he was "disoriented and asking for directions to Bermuda Wednesday,” USA Today reported. They requested he terminate the trip, but he refused to leave the bubble.

He was rescued early Saturday using radar and a camera which can view images in pitch darkness. A helicopter lowered a rescue swimmer into the water. The swimmer found Baluchi lying down inside the bubble.

The Coast Guard says it "hoisted Baluchi from his inflatable raft and transported him to Air Station Clearwater where emergency medical services evaluated him."

Baluchi said on his Facebook page that he was not in distress and didn’t want to terminate his trip.

“Just to clear up what happened, I was not asking for rescue,” he wrote. “The transponder button was struck accidentally while receiving a gift from a passing fishing boat that had come up to speak with me. Once the coast guard arrived, I had no choice but to leave my hydro-bubble.”

He said, “The bubble was destroyed when the same fishing boat tried to tow it to shore. My team is currently organizing to rebuild the hydro-pod.”

He is now trying to raise funds to try the trip again.

Baluchi is known for breaking long-distance running records. He previously took a six-month journey to run the perimeter of the U.S. and a seven-year bike trip across 55 countries and six continents.

Sources: USA Today, Bay 9 News

Image credit: Facebook, U.S. Coast Guard