Dead Segway company owner had strong tie to the military


Hesco Bastion Concertainer blocks in Afghanistan. (AP Photo)

Segway company owner dies in Segway accident.

It sounds like a joke gone bad, or at the very least, like lyrics in Alanis Morrissette’s always-annoying “Ironic.”

It’s all apparently true, however: Jimi Heselden, owner of Segway Inc., reportedly died in an accident in which he careened over a cliff in Great Britain while riding one of his company’s motorized two-wheel personal transporters.

The story has blown up the Internet this afternoon. Google Trends currently shows that “Segway accident” is the fifth-most popular topic on the Internet. “Segway owner dies” is the third-most popular search term this afternoon, and “James Heselden” is seventh.

In addition to the tragic aspect of his death, something has been overlooked, though. Heselden also owned HESCO Bastion, the British maker of the sand block system widely used by U.S. forces to build military bases in hostile environments all over the world.

Like Segway, Taser and a few other companies, Hesco has cornered a market so successfully that their product isn’t commonly referred to by what it is, but by the company name.  Nearly universally, troops call the blocks “Hescos.” They stop not only small-arms fire, but fragmentation from car bombs and rocket-propelled grenades.


About Author

I'm a senior writer with Marine Corps Times, covering ground warfare, manpower, weapons acquisition and other beats. I embedded in Afghanistan in spring 2010, and plan to return at least once in 2011.


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