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VIDEO: Russian Hovercraft Storms Ashore, Surprises Beachgoers

A giant Russian military hovercraft made an amphibious landing on a beach full of stunned sunbathers along the Baltic coast.

The massive 187-foot-long vessel, which rides on a cushion of air, is seen gently gliding up onto the sand as beachgoers in Mechnikovo, Kaliningrad, gawk and snap photos.

Russia's RT.com says no one was hurt in the incident.

The U.K.'s Metro writes:

"Witnesses reported a 'terrible roar' and 'big waves' as the 550-tonne war craft charged up the shore.

"They then watched open-mouthed as paratroopers started to disembark and demand they roll up their towels and move on."

According to a Russian defense ministry spokesman, it was just business as usual and, come to think of it, what were all those people doing there, anyway?

"Docking at the beach is a regular practice, what we don't know is what people were doing at the beach, which is within the military firing range," Andrey Bespaly, a spokesman for the Baltic Fleet Western military district told Komsomolskaya Pravda.

"After the drill was over, the cordon was removed and the ship sailed back to its base," he said.

Locals were quoted by the newspaper as saying that the base in question was several kilometers from where the craft came ashore.

The "Zubr-class" (bison-class) vessel is the world's largest hovercraft and is designed to ferry tanks and infantry onto beaches that, presumably, would be a bit more hostile than the one at Mechnikovo.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
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