Daredevil “Mad” Mike Hughes has died in a crash of a homemade steam-powered rocket during an attempt to leave the earth’s atmosphere. Although Hughes has claimed the Earth is flat and that his flight to the edge of space would prove the flat Earth theory, his PR Representative called the theory a “schtick” Hughes used to gain attention.
BuzzFeed News reports that daredevil “Mad” Mike Hughes has died after falling from a homemade steam-powered rocket. Hughes, a former Limo driver, who holds the Guinness World Record for longest limousine ramp jump for a 103-foot jump in a stretch Lincoln Town Car in 2002 and billed himself as “the world’s greatest daredevil,” was attempting to launch himself into 5,000 feet into the air on a steam-powered rocket when his parachute failed and he fell to his death.
The full video of Hughes’s takeoff attempt can be seen in the tweet below, captured by freelance writer Justin Chapman. In the video, the parachute can be seen ripping off immediately after launch and moments later Hughes’ rocket is spotted falling through the air and crashing into the desert near Barstow, California.
— Justin Chapman (@justindchapman) February 22, 2020
Chapman told the LA Times: “Everyone was stunned. They didn’t know what to do.” Hughes’ efforts to launch himself into space were being documented by The Science Channel for a show called Homemade Astronauts, the station confirmed Hughes’ death stating: “It was always his dream to do this launch & Science Channel was there to chronicle his journey.”
Hughes had been attempting to launch himself 62 miles above the earth’s surface, where the Earth’s atmosphere meets outer space. In a previous launch in 2018, Hughes reached 1,900 feet. Hughes was a proponent of flat earth theory and told the AP in 2018: “Do I believe the Earth is shaped like a Frisbee? I believe it is,” he said. “Do I know for sure? No. That’s why I want to go up in space.”
However, Darren Shuster a PR representative for Hughes, told BuzzFeed News: “We used flat Earth as a PR stunt. Period. He was a true daredevil decades before the latest round of rocket missions. Flat Earth allowed us to get so much publicity that we kept going! I know he didn’t believe in flat Earth and it was a schtick.”
Hughes denied that his rocket launches were an attempt to prove the flat earth theory, telling Space.com in August of 2019: “I believe the Earth is flat, but this flat Earth has nothing to do with the steam rocket launches,” he added. “It never did. It never will. I’m a daredevil!”
In a promotional video posted by the Science Channel, Huges stated: “People ask me why I do stuff like this, and basically it’s just to convince people they can do things extraordinary with their lives, and maybe it pushes people to do things that they normally wouldn’t do with their life, and maybe it’ll inspire someone else.”