It’s not funny, needless to say. It’s just … darned weird.
Former miner Jimi Heselden, 62, plunged into the River Wharfe while riding around his West Yorkshire estate in Boston Spa on a rugged country version of the Segway.
He bought the firm last December and was using one of the machines – which use gyroscopes to remain upright and are controlled by the direction in which the rider leans – to inspect the grounds of his property.
A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said today: ‘Police were called at 11.40am yesterday to reports of a man in the River Wharfe, apparently having fallen from the cliffs above.
‘A Segway-style vehicle was recovered. He was pronounced dead at the scene…
Invesitgators are probing whether there was a fault with his particular machine or it was driver error.
He grew up poor, invented a type of blast wall used to protect troops in war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan, and ended up giving tens of millions of pounds to charity, including military charities. And now, to most of the public, he’ll be remembered as the guy who died in some sort of Wile E. Coyote free fall aboard the world’s dorkiest mode of transportation. Simply terrible, and egregiously unfair. RIP.
I’m tempted to say that this news will do for the Segway industry what the Hindenburg did for the airship industry, but let’s face it. There is no Segway industry.