Category Archives: Holy Shit!

Segway Company Owner Dies Falling Off Cliff On Segway

LONDON — A wealthy British businessman who owns the company that makes the two-wheeled Segway has been found dead in a river in northern England after apparently falling off a cliff on one of the vehicles, police said Monday.

The body of 62-year-old James Heselden and a Segway personal transporter were found in the River Wharfe and he was pronounced dead at the scene, West Yorkshire Police said.

Police said a witness had reported seeing a man fall Sunday over a 30-foot (9-meter) drop into the river near Boston Spa, 140 miles (225 kilometers) north of London.

“The incident is not believed to be suspicious,” police said, indicating that they do not believe anyone else was involved.

Police have not revealed further details about the incident. A dozen members of Heselden’s family asked for privacy Monday after placing flowers at the heavily wooded accident site, which is popular with hikers and nature lovers.

The battery-powered Segway, which is stabilized by gyroscopes, was invented by Dean Kamen, who founded the company in 1999. The unique transporter relies on electricity to recharge its batteries and travels at speeds up to 12.5 mph (20 kph), the company says on its website.

The Segway is far more protective of the environment than other scooters and automobiles, the company says, claiming it is 11 times more efficient than the average American car and also can be used indoors because it has no emissions.

Heselden, who bought control of the New Hampshire-based Segway company in December, made his fortune through his firm Hesco Bastion Ltd., which developed a system to replace the sand bags used to protect troops.

Hesco Bastion is based in Leeds, near the tough Halton Moor area where Heselden grew up. He left school at 15 and first worked as a coal miner before becoming a businessman and later a well known philanthropist.

Hesco Bastion said Heselden recently gave 10 million pounds ($15.9 million) to the Leeds Community Foundation, raising his total charitable giving to 23 million pounds.

“Jimi was an amazing man who, apart from being a wonderful success story for Leeds due to his business acumen, was also remarkably selfless and generous, giving millions to local charities to help people in his home city,” said Tom Riordan, the chief executive of Leeds City Council.

He described Heselden as a quiet, good-natured man who was tremendously proud of being from Leeds. He became wealthy through his business successes but said he and others who had prospered had an obligation to help others.

“There are people out there who are making money and when times are good I honestly believe people have a moral obligation to use their wealth to help others,” he told the Yorkshire Post earlier this year. “Life turned out pretty well for me, but I still work in the same area where I grew up and everyday I see people who for whatever reason are down on their luck.”

The lack of information about the circumstances surrounding Heselden’s death prompted questions about the Segway’s safety record — which one U.S. businessman was quick to defend.

Mobile Entertainment, which has offered Segway tours along the Mississippi River for the past seven years, has had more than 40,000 customers — most of them new to Segway — ride the device without any serious injuries, owner Bill Neuenschwander told The Associated Press.

“Nobody’s gone off a river, nobody,” he said, speaking from Minneapolis, Minnesota. “I can tell you firsthand: I can’t believe how safe this product is.”

He said the Segway was also easy to use off the road — on gravel, grass, hills or other steep inclines.

“People get it right away,” he said. “This product is perfectly safe when people respect its limitations.”

From Associated Press
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Love Triangle Skydive Murder Trial Begins

Reuters – Belgian Els Clottemans enters the court at the start of her trial at the Justice Palace in Tongeren

TONGEREN, Belgium (Reuters) – A Belgian woman went on trial on Friday charged with the murder of a fellow skydiver and love rival who plunged to her death after her parachute was sabotaged.

Els Van Doren, 38, smashed into a back garden from some 4,500 meters (14,764 feet) in November 2006 because both her main and reserve chutes failed to open after she jumped from a plane with defendant, Els Clottemans, 26, their lover, Dutchman Marcel Somers, and another man.

Clottemans, an elementary school teacher, is accused of cutting through key parts of the parachute system the weekend before the jump to remove her rival and have Somers for herself.

Lawyers for Clottemans, who herself only spoke in court to confirm basic details such as her date of birth and profession, issued a statement expressing their firm belief that their client did not kill a woman she regarded as a friend.

In a red top and black trousers and flanked by two police officers, Clottemans showed no emotion as Prosecutor Patrick Boyen read the 68-page indictment.

Interest in the case was so great that a live television feed was laid on in a larger room in the courthouse in Tongeren, a town in eastern Belgium. Several police guarded the entrance.

Laying out details of the love triangle, Boyen said that bachelor Somers entertained Van Doren, a married mother of two, most Saturdays and the younger Clottemans often on Fridays.

Boyen said Clottemans was an experienced skydiver and would have known how to sabotage a parachute and that she had the opportunity to do so when she and Van Doren were with Somers a week before the fatal drop.

Van Doren’s pilot chute, a small parachute deployed to pull the main chute out, was detached from that, while a line that should have connected the reserve chute to the harness was free.

Experts ruled that both items had been deliberately cut and that it could been done in just 30 seconds with scissors.

Psychiatric experts have identified signs that Clottemans suffers from a psychopathic disorder.

Clottemans’ lawyers say that is no hard evidence against their client, whom they say investigators intimidated and belittled in hours of questioning.

“She was continually accused of lying by investigators. The investigators had formed their own version of the truth and were no longer prepared to deviate from that.”

The trial, which is likely to feature video of the fall shot from a camera on Van Doren’s helmet, is due to last four weeks.

From Reuters

Vampire Bats Kill 5 Children in Peru

Rabid vampire bats have reportedly killed at least five children aged between five and 10 in Amazon rainforest of Peru.

Fernando Borjas, a doctor, said the rabies outbreak had been going on for several months, the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph newspaper reported.

“These bats feed at night, and since they do not find large animals they bite unprotected people,” Borjas was quoted as saying by the paper.

“I cannot discount the death toll mounting, because unfortunately we cannot get them the vaccines quickly enough because the communities are so remote,” he added.

The children belonged to the Wampis and Awajun communities in Condorcanqui province, near the border with Ecuador.

Borjas said there were reports that 3,500 people had been bitten by the vampire bats this year alone, according to the Telegraph, with at least 20 deaths.

It takes 15 hours traveling along rivers by boat for medical teams to reach the remote villages, the newspaper said.

From MSNBC

Over 280 Crocodiles Escape Refuge

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – At least 280 crocodiles have escaped from a Mexican refuge near the Gulf of Mexico after heavy flooding caused by Hurricane Karl, Mexican media said Tuesday.

The endangered Morelet crocodiles were on the roam in six coastal areas in the Mexican state of Veracruz and residents were told not to try to capture or kill them, El Economista reported.

The governor of Veracruz told reporters about 280 crocodiles were missing from the reserve in La Antigua, although some media put the number of reptiles at closer to 400.

Morelet crocodiles can grow to nearly 10 feet and are found in freshwater swamps, lakes and rivers, and the brackish coastal waters of eastern Mexico, Belize and Guatemala.

Federal authorities from the agency charged with environmental protection said crocodile experts would be sent to the region to try to recapture the animals.

At least 15 people were killed and thousands displaced by the hurricane, which ripped through the Yucatan peninsula and slammed into Mexico’s Gulf coast this past weekend.

From Reuters

Baby Crawls Down Busy Highway (VIDEO)

Mini-moo: World’s Smallest Cow 33-inches!

 

Swallow, a cow from the West Yorkshire region of northern England, was named the world’s smallest cow by the Guinness World Records.

LONDON – A minuscule cow with a taste for contemporary music has been named the world’s smallest by the Guinness World Records book. Guinness said the sheep-sized bovine from the West Yorkshire region of northern England measures roughly 33 inches (84 centimeters) from hind to foot.

The 11-year-old cow is named Swallow and her owner, Caroline Ryder, said she would spend Thursday either grazing with her herd or listening to BBC radio in her cowshed.

Swallow is a Dexter cow, a breed known for its diminutive stature, but is small even by Dexter standards.

She already has nine regular-sized calves and is pregnant with her 10th. Guinness said her youngest calf has already grown larger than she is.

Guinness World Records 2011 was published Thursday in the U.K.

Scared of Heights? Don’t Watch This.