Self-taught engineer who called himself “daredevil” dies when his rocket crashed during attempt to prove Earth is flat

A self-taught engineer who called himself the “world’s greatest daredevil” died when his homemade rocket crashed during an attempt to prove the Earth is flat.

Mike Hughes’ death was captured on video as he was filmed for a new TV show, Homemade Astronauts.

The 64-year-old, who was nicknamed Mad Mike, flew his rocket into the sky but its parachute appeared to fail and it plummeted to the ground.

He had been hoping to use Saturday’s launch to reach a height of 5,000 feet.

Instead, dozens of people watched in horror as he crashed near Barstow, California.

Mike and his assistants had built the homemade rocket in his back yard, reportedly spending $18,000

Before the tragedy, the Californian said he believed Earth was flat – or “shaped like a Frisbee”. He said he wanted to fly into space to make sure.

“I don’t think he believed it,” publicist Darren Shuster said. “He did have some conspiracy theories. But don’t confuse it with that flat Earth thing.”

He told TMZ that Mike was “one of a kind”, adding: “When God made Mike he broke the mould.

The man was the real deal and lived to push the edge. He wouldn’t have gone out any other way.”

Eric Sherwin, a spokesman for the San Bernardino County Fire Department, said they had not been alerted in advance that Saturday’s rocket launch was taking place or informed of the fatality after it had occurred.

Mike’s DIY rocket-making gained global attention, attracting the interest of documentary filmmakers and reality TV producers.

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