"Jimi Heselden, the British millionaire who owned the company, accidentally drove a Segway off a precipice and into a river, according to police in West Yorkshire, England, where he had his estate," Bloomberg reports, adding, "He was pronounced dead at the scene, and the two-wheeled vehicle was recovered from the water.
Heselden was 62. No foul play is suspected, the article says, explaining, "Heselden crashed into the River Wharfe in West Yorkshire while riding around his estate on Sept. 26, said Neil Wardley, a police spokesman."
Heselden had purchased the Segway company earlier this year.
According to the article, while there have been safety concerns about the Segway, "More than 500 organizations worldwide now use the transporters for policing and security, according to the company. Consumers make up 60 percent of sales, with 350 retail outlets in 80 countries. Forty-four states allow Segways to operate in the same spaces as walkers and bikers, according to the company.Segways have built a fan base among sightseeing tour groups and enthusiasts such as Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who participates in a Segway polo league."
The article also notes that "In 2003, President George W. Bush was photographed leaping from one of the vehicles after losing control of it in Maine. In the same year, the company recalled all 6,000 of its transporters after a safety report found operators risk falling as batteries ran out."
However, the article quotes Brian Huber of the Electric Tour Co. in San Francisco, which owns 48 Segways, saying, "Segway crashes are rarer than bicycle accidents. When they do happen, they typically result in the same kind of scrapes and bumps that bike riders get, he said. Still, the transporters can instill an inflated sense of confidence, Huber said."