Segway owner dies after falling off river cliff
By GREGORY KATZ, APA wealthy British businessman who owns the company that makes the two-wheeled Segway has been found dead in a river in northern England after apparently falling off a cliff on one of the vehicles, police said Monday.
Mon Sep 27, 12:02 PM EDT
The body of 62-year-old James Heselden and a Segway personal transporter were found in the River Wharfe and he was pronounced dead at the scene, West Yorkshire Police said.
Police said a witness had reported seeing a man fall Sunday over a 30-foot drop into the river near Boston Spa, 140 miles north of London.
"The incident is not believed to be suspicious," police said, indicating that they do not believe anyone else was involved.
Police have not revealed further details about the incident. A dozen members of Heselden's family asked for privacy Monday after placing flowers at the heavily wooded accident site, which is popular with hikers and nature lovers.
The battery-powered Segway, which is stabilized by gyroscopes, was invented by Dean Kamen, who founded the company in 1999. The unique transporter relies on electricity to recharge its batteries and travels at speeds up to 12.5 mph (20 kph), the company says on its website.
Heselden, who bought control of the New Hampshire-based Segway company in December, made his fortune through his firm Hesco Bastion Ltd., which developed a system to replace the sand bags used to protect troops.
The lack of information about the circumstances surrounding Heselden's death prompted questions about the Segway's safety record — which one U.S. businessman was quick to defend.
Mobile Entertainment, which has offered Segway tours along the Mississippi River for the past seven years, has had more than 40,000 customers — most of them new to Segway — ride the device without any serious injuries, owner Bill Neuenschwander told The Associated Press.
"Nobody's gone off a river, nobody," he said, speaking from Minneapolis, Minnesota. "I can tell you firsthand: I can't believe how safe this product is."
He said the Segway was also easy to use off the road — on gravel, grass, hills or other steep inclines.
"People get it right away," he said. "This product is perfectly safe when people respect its limitations."
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The device would seem to be safe for almost anyone to ride, with the exception of one maladroit former president.
|Yes it is, old # 43 taking a spill|
And outside Pittsburgh, on September 15, James Winner, the man who invented The Club, the anti-theft device for cars, died in a car crash when his car veered into the path of another vehicle.
And in Baltimore on September 20, a woman was arrested and charged for fatally beating her aunt. With a Club anti-theft device.
Coincidences abound. Ironies swirl about us all. The stories just seem to segue into each other.