Millionaire Segway owner dies in freak accident
Published 28/09/2010 | 05:00
THE millionaire owner of the Segway upright scooter company has died in a freak accident after riding one of the machines off a cliff into a river.
Jimi Heselden (62) plunged into the River Wharfe at a beauty spot close to his home on an estate in Boston Spa, near Wetherby, West Yorkshire.
It is thought he lost control of one of the all-terrain versions of the machine as he travelled along a rutted bridleway close to his estate near Boston Spa, West Yorks, on Sunday morning.
After dropping from the bridleway, he is understood to have fallen 80ft over the cliff and his body was discovered in the river after a passer-by called the emergency services. Police said his body was recovered from the river, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
His wife Julie and other members of his family were too upset to talk about the tragedy.
A member of staff at his home, known as Flint Mill, near Wetherby Racecourse, said: "We are absolutely gutted, no one wants to talk about it."
Mr Heselden, a former miner who made a fortune developing a blast wall to protect troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, bought the Segway company in December last year.
Worth an estimated £166m (€195m), Mr Heselden was well known for his philanthropy in his native Leeds, and just last week donated £10m to a charity foundation he launched in 2008.
Tom Riordan, the chief executive of Leeds City Council, said: "Jimi was an amazing man who was remarkably selfless and generous, giving millions to local charities to help people in his home city. He will be hugely missed."