Reality TV Gone Wrong — American Adventurers Detained in Russia

Jul 9, 2012 7:28pm

MOSCOW — A team of aspiring reality TV stars ran into the reality of foreign laws after they were detained crossing into Russian waters without authorization.

The American team was filming a series called “Dangerous Waters” Friday when they were detained by Russian authorities after crossing the Bering Strait, the body of water the separates Russia from Alaska, on their personal watercraft.

In an initial video posted on the show’s Facebook page shortly after they were detained, team leader Steven Moll sounded hopeful, saying, “We have to work through some laws, Russian laws, in order to move forward.”

But just a few hours later they posted an update saying they may be detained for a few days.

Moll’s wife told the Sacramento Bee that the crew was greeted by a Russian tank and armed guards as they approached the shore. She said the Americans had Russian visas, but were told there was a problem with their documentation.

Moll, who is producing and marketing the series, and his five companions had planned to travel from Alaska to Vietnam for the second season of a reality TV series that promised to take viewers to dangerous and remote locations only accessibly by personal watercraft.

“Keep your fingers crossed, we’re going to Russia,” Moll said in a YouTube video posted shortly before their departure.

Last year for the show’s first season they completed a 4,500-mile journey from Seattle to Russia on their Sea-Doos.

Family members of the detained crew said they were being treated well and were allowed to walk around the Russian military base, but were not allowed to leave. They said the men faced possible fines and were scheduled to appear in court.

As their detention continued over the weekend, Moll grew increasingly frustrated.

“We want to leave. They won’t let us leave,” he said in another video posted on YouTube. “All we really want to do is get some fuel and head back to the United States. This is ridiculous.”

By today the team posted an update saying they had finally been given permission to depart, but only back to the United States and not to the south as they had hoped.

“Russian authorities say they will give us permission to depart back across the Bering Strait tomorrow! Northern route now,” they wrote.

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