The multi-millionaire owner of the
Segway Company died in a freak accident.
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.
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.
The narrow pathway is littered with
tree roots and is rutted and uneven for most of its length, used mainly by
walkers and ramblers.
After dropping from the bridleway,
he is understood to have fallen 30ft over the overgrown 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.
Investigators are probing whether
there was a fault with his particular machine or it was driver error.
His death comes just a week after
he became one of the UK’s most generous philanthropists, having given away $15.9
million to a charity foundation he set up in 2008. He had previously
given $20 million to the same organisation.
Mr Heselden was worth $263 million
and ranked 395th on the Sunday Times Rich List – above X Factor boss Simon
Cowell – thanks to his defence company Hesco Bastion.