This Week’s Lead Candidate for the Darwin Award
By Frank Sargeant, Editor
from The Fishing Wire
He made it all of 70 miles offshore of St. Augustine before requiring rescue.
The Coast Guard located him early in his mission, but after he refused to leave his device, the watchstanders monitored his movements until he activated a locator beacon Saturday morning due to fatigue. Coast Guard aircraft out of Clearwater began searching for him.
According to the Coast Guard news service, an aircrew arrived on scene and safely “hoisted Baluchi from his inflatable raft and transported him to Air Station Clearwater where emergency medical services evaluated him.”
Baluchi seems like the sort who might believe he actually could walk on water, but we must point out that the distance from St. Augustine to Bermuda is approximately 990 miles, and he appeared to be making about 1 to 2 mph per hour in his beach ball on the way to making the Arabs love the Israeli’s.
The trip would have taken him 20 to 40 days, if he was able to hold up day and night, which of course he could not have. His supplies were primarily several cans of Red Bull, water and some protein bars, from what we can ascertain.
So we have to conclude either that Baluchi is wacky, or that he knew from the get go he was going to have to be rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard at the expense of American taxpayers, and with the cameras rolling.
How much might it cost for his rescue? The Coast Guard is not saying, but it used an HC-130 airplane, which costs about $20,000 per operational hour, to locate him, and an MH-60 helicopter, which operates at an economical $14,000 per hour, to rescue him.
You can be sure he would not have tried this stunt off the coast of his native Iran or anywhere else outside the western world and put his faith in the local water patrol, but in our waters, he knew that he was reasonably safe after publicizing the event in advance, thanks to the remarkable capabilities of our life saving services.
This sort of incredibly stupid stuff is becoming epidemic with the wide-spread and immediate publicity available to publicity hounds of all flavors via YouTube, Facebook and other social media outlets, and it is starting to become a real issue in terms of taking away time and money from legitimate search and rescue efforts
It would seem reasonable to require all such stunts to be registered with the Coast Guard, and to require that a bond be posted if rescue is expected. That way, those who actually do want to take a serious run at whatever challenge they can dream up will still have the complete freedom to do so, but at their own risk–no bond, no rescue.
Otherwise, the publicity that Baluchi and others like him get, even when they fail, will continue to inspire more with a very limited understanding of what they are getting into to make these attempts–at our expense.