Segway boss dies in clifftop fall... on a Segway

The Yorkshire millionaire who owned the UK Segway company has died after driving one of his company's motorised scooters off a cliff.

Businessman Jimi Heselden, 62, crashed into the River Wharfe while testing a new off-road version of the personal transportation device round his estate near Boston Spa, West Yorkshire.

The BBC reports that he was pronounced dead at the scene.

A spokeswoman for West Yorkshire Police told reporters: "Police were called at 11:40 yesterday to reports of a man in the River Wharfe, apparently having fallen from the cliffs above."

The victim was confirmed to be Heselden.

The two-wheeled tycoon reported to have acquired the Segway operation on Christmas eve 2009, but the deal was kept secret by its new owner until early in the new year.

Heselden stepped in after Segway's original owners struggled to whip up sufficient demand for the scooter among commuters. A similar fate met Brit boffin Sir Clive Sinclair's C5 motorised tricycle.

The Segway was originally unveiled by inventor Dean Kamen in December 2001 amid an explosion of publicity, prompted by high-tech luminaries including Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs, who were treated to a sneak preview of the invention, then known as “Project Ginger”, hailing it as “revolutionary”.

Some gullible people were a bit disappointed when it turned out to be an overpriced gyroscopic two-wheeled scooter rather than a Star Trek-style transporter.