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Flat Earther Daredevil Dies in DIY Rocket Crash
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Summary: A former limousine stunt driver dies after crash-landing homemade rocket.

“Mad” Mike Hughes, a former limousine stunt driver and self-proclaimed “world’s greatest daredevil,” was killed in an attempt to launch his homemade rocket 5,000 feet into the air. 

Hughes-who holds a Guinness World Record for the 103-foot jump in a stretch Lincoln Town Car in 2002 — wanted to prove the ‘earth is flat’ theory, by reaching the spot where the Earth’s atmosphere meets outer space, about 62 miles above the Earth’s surface.


Freelance writer Justin Chapman posted the video of the incident in which the parachute rips off immediately after launch, moments later the rocket falls through the air and crashes to the ground in the Mojave Desert outside Barstow, California.

Mad Mike Hughes just launched himself in a self-made steam-powered rocket and crash-landed. Very likely did not survive,” Chapman wrote in a caption to the video. 

Chapman told the Los Angeles Times that Hughes, 64, might have been knocked unconscious during take-off.

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When the rocket was nosediving and he didn’t release the three other parachutes he had in the rocket, lots of people screamed out and started wailing,” Chapman told BuzzFeed News in an email. “Everyone was stunned when he crashed and didn’t know what to do.”

The Science Channel, which had been documenting Hughes’s attempt for a scheduled show called Homemade Astronauts, confirmed his death, saying, “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.

Hughes had teamed up with Waldo Stakes, a general contractor to build the steam-powered rockets. A previous attempt to reach the 5,000-foot mark in 2019 had been stopped due to a faulty heater purchased on Craigslist, according to

The BBC reported ‘Mad Mike’ had spent around $18,000 on the DIY rocket.

Hughes showed off the rocket he would use on Saturday in a promotional video posted by the Science Channel, and the vehicle intended to go up 62 miles.

We think the top speed will be 425 miles an hour,” Hughes said of the launch.

People ask me why I do stuff like this,” he said toward the end of the video, “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.

The ‘silver-haired’ daredevil was a firm believer that earth is flat and was on a quest to prove the infamous theory. 

“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.” Hughes told the AP  in 2018.

I believe the Earth is flat,” Hughes told 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 the aftermath of Hughes’ death, the Science Chanel has been heavily criticized online, for giving the ‘go-ahead’ to Mad Mike’s plan to launch himself into space. ‘Science Channel gave this a platform,” read one tweet. “There is a duty of care issue. And spreading pseudoscience.”

Those within the Flat Earth community itself, however, appear undisturbed by the tragic event-if not more confident in its mission than ever. 

‘Hughes’ death just reinforced my mantra — meaning, what are you willing to do if you believe in something so much?” Mark Sargent, a self-described Flat Earth recruiter who was featured in the 2018 Netflix documentary Behind the Curve, told Rolling Stone. “For me, Flat Earth is bigger than my friends and family and even my own life. I believe the truth is worth taking risks for.”



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