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London Segway owner found dead

By: Courtney Harrington

On Sunday, Jimi Heselden was found dead after falling off a cliff while riding a Segway scooter. Photo courtesy of Google images

 On Monday, September 27, 2010, 62-year-old Jimi Heselden was found dead. Heselden was the new owner of the United States based firm Segway, and chairman of Hesco Bastion, a production facility. When officials found his body, they also found one of his “sleek black-and-silver scooters.”

             Heselden purchased the company 10 months ago in December. Before purchasing the company, Heselden was a coal miner, but was unfortunately laid off. With the Segway company under his name, he became a millionaire. He was known as one of the richest men in Britain with 260 million dollars, or 166 million pounds in British currency.

            The self-balancing Segway scooter was invented by Dean Kamen in 1999. According to the company, the Segway scooter is 11 times more efficient than the average American transportation vehicle. These scooters are popular around police departments and malls due to the fact that they admit no emission. The scooter caught the public’s eye when past President, George W. Bush, rode on one of the newly created scooters in 2003. While on the ride, the Segway lost control, causing Bush to jump off of the Segway. Since then, the Segway has hit the theaters in movies such as Paul Blart: Mall Cop.    

            It has been said that this incident is in no way suspicious of foul play. Heselden’s body was found in the River Wharfe near Leeds, England at the base of a 30-foot cliff. The media portrayed the accident as a “freak accident.” The area in which Heselden reportedly fell to this death is a heavily forested area and is known as a popular hiking location. A witness claimed to see a man fall off the cliff Sunday. “The family has been left devastated by the sudden and tragic loss of a much-loved father and husband,” the family spokesman stated.

            In 2006, all Segway scooters were recalled in the U.S. because of a software malfunction.  “The problem is the vehicles are just not that stable. You have to get used to leaning away from the turn. If you lean into it, you’ll turn over. They don’t do well on gravel or surfaces where there is a stone or a bump. It’s difficult to control.” Samuel Davis, New Jersey lawyer said. Due to the death of Heselden, many questions are being raised about the safety of the device.

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