Daredevil ‘Mad Mike’ Hughes Dies At 64 After Rocket Stunt Goes Wrong
Daredevil “Mad” Mike Hughes died on Saturday after an attempt to rocket himself 5,000 feet in the air went wrong. He was 64.
Hughes built a steam powered rocket with his partner Waldo Stakes for a show the Science Channel was filming called Homemade Astronauts. A freelance journalist, Justin Chapman, who was at the launch site outside Barstow, California said that the accident may have been caused by the rocket’s launch pad.
“It ripped off a parachute can, which deployed the parachute, which got caught in the thrust of the rocket and kind of took the rocket off course a little bit,” Chapman told NPR. The rocket was supposedly equipped with three parachutes, but none deployed successfully to slow Hughes’ descent.
Chapman posted a video of the crash on Twitter. You can hear the crowd start to gasp, yell and wail as they realize the rocket is heading for the ground fast.
— Justin Chapman (@justindchapman) February 22, 2020
Many news sites have reported that Hughes was a “flat Earther” and rode in homemade rockets to prove his theory that the Earth is “Frisbee shaped.” But, he told space.com that his steam rocket launches never had anything to do with being a “flat Earther:”
“This flat Earth has nothing to do with the steam rocket launches, it never did, it never will. I’m a daredevil!” he said.
Hughes holds the Guinness World Record for the farthest jump in a limousine, at 103 feet.
In 2018, he rode in a homemade rocket that reached a height of 1,875 feet. This flight was supposed to serve as his new record.
In a statement the Science Channel confirmed his death.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this difficult time. It was always his dream to do this launch, and Science was there to chronicle his journey,” a representative said.
It is unclear if the Science Channel will continue filming Homemade Astronauts.