Man dies trying to prove the earth is flat
Flat earth theorist and amateur rocketeer "Mad" Mike Hughes has died after his homemade rocket came crashing back to Earth in the California desert on Saturday.
Mr Hughes, 64, died when the chute on his steam-powered rocket detached during launch, giving him no other way of safely landing the rocket.
Footage posted to social media shows the rocket crashing back to Earth 20 seconds later, a small puff of dust the only sign of the impact.
WARNING: CONFRONTING FOOTAGE
A crew from the Science Channel had been following Mr Hughes for a production on amateur rocketeeers called Homemade Astronauts.
The channel shared news of Mr Hughes' death on its Twitter account.
Michael 'Mad Mike' Hughes tragically passed away today during an attempt to launch his homemade rocket. Our thoughts & prayers go out to his family & friends during this difficult time. It was always his dream to do this launch & Science Channel was there to chronicle his journey pic.twitter.com/GxwjpVf2md— Science Channel (@ScienceChannel) February 23, 2020
Local police and Mr Hughes' publicist later confirmed the news.
It wasn't his first attempt.
He'd previously launched a rocket up to 570 metres off the ground before parachuting back to Earth in March of 2018.
He also claimed to have launched a rocket in 2014.
Prior to a previous launch Mr Hughes told the Associated Press he wanted to fly into space to make sure the Earth was flat, according to the Los Angeles Times.
He later told Space.com his beliefs on the shape of the Earth weren't the reason behind his mission.
"I believe the Earth is flat," Hughes said. 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!"
He also cited a "personal desire to inspire my fellow Americans to help make this country great again," adding that he hoped to be invited to the White House.
His former PR rep Darren Shuster told the Los Angeles Times "the flat Earth thing" was a PR stunt dreamt up by the pair.
"I don't think he believed it," Mr Shuster said, but allowed that Mr Hughes had "some governmental conspiracy theories".
Evidence of his daredevil stunts are more certain.