RUSSIA (CBS13) – The Folsom man who was detained by Russian authorities after leading an expedition across the Bering Strait for a reality show says he and his crew have been released.
Steven Moll and five others rode from Alaska to Russia last Friday to film the show “Dangerous Waters.” But soon after they arrived, he called his wife to tell her they had all been taken into custody.
Moll tried to reassure his terrified wife Annette through this cell phone message Tuesday.
“Honey, um, we’re OK,” he said on the video. “We’re just waiting final word from the Russian authorities that we can go back.”
Moll is part of a six-man crew trying to break world records by making their way through international waters using only jet skis.
“The whole goal is to go around the world in seven years,” Annette said.
Annette says less than a week ago her husband and team ran into rough waters after they left Alaska and neared the Bering Strait in Russia.
“They were coming into land and it happened to be a military base,” she said. “They were met with a military tank and 12 armed guards.”
Annette says the Russian military became suspicious and detained them. They took their TV cameras but not their cell phones. While in custody they filmed their trip in a military van.
Annette would get several text messages from Steven but that was about it. She says the Russians kept promising to release them but wouldn’t.
“They say it had something to do with the paperwork but the paperwork was all in order,” she said. “They already had a visa. They had plans; they had contacts. They had everything they’re supposed to have; and so, there’s no reason for them to be detained,” Annette said.
But Tuesday they finally were allowed their freedom. She got a text from Steven telling her they were being released. CBS13 asked her about the skeptics who may think this is all a big publicity stunt for the show.
“The Russians aren’t going to say, ‘Hey, let’s do this stunt,'” she said. “That’s ridiculous to me.”
Her husband won’t be returning home to Folsom right away. He and the crew head next to Japan before he’ll be able to return to Folsom some time in September.