Segway boss James Heselden has been killed in an accident on his Segway and his body found in the river near his home.

The Segway company owner, 62, died in an accident when he plunged 80ft from a cliff on a two-wheeled electrically powered Segway scooter.

Heselden is believed to have been test-driving a crosscountry version of the two-wheeled motorized scooter after buying the Segway company earlier this year.

The accident happened as he took it for a drive in the grounds of his home in Thorp Arch, Boston Spa, West Yorkshire.

The business tycoon had built up his fortune from founding a defence company after losing his colliery job over 20 years ago. He went on to become 395th on the Sunday Times Rich List.

A member of his staff said yesterday: “Everyone is in a complete state of shock.” Police are investigating but say the death is not being treated as suspicious.

What is a Segway?

  • The Segway is a two-wheeled electric scooter.
  • It’s a self-balancing device that uses gyroscopes to remain upright and is controlled by the direction in which the rider leans.
  • The Segway was designed by Dean Kamen, an American entrepreneur and inventor, and was unveiled in 2001 before being mass produced in 2002.
  • The scooter has a top speed of around 12.5 mph.
  • The Segway is often used to get around warehouses and industrial sites as well as on pavements in cities.
  • It is promoted as the “greenest” way to travel.
  • The Segway is categorised as a motor vehicle In Britain for the purpose of road safety laws.

How safe is the Segway?

  • The safety of Segways has been questioned, as they are tricky to manoeuvre.
  • Former US President George Bush fell off one at his family estate in Maine in 2003.
  • Britain’s Got Talent judge Morgan broke three ribs after crashing one in California in 2007.