Russian Hovercraft Invades Crowded Baltic Beach (Video)

Friday, 23 Aug 2013 08:03 AM

By Michael Mullins

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A Russian hovercraft invaded a crowded Baltic beach in a practice amphibious landing, startling hundreds of sunbathers who were then kicked off the sand by troops who deployed from the 550-ton ship.

No one was injured as a result of the military exercise earlier this month on the government-controlled beach along the Baltic coast, which had been planned in advance, according to officials who blamed the beachgoers for the bizarre encounter that was captured on video (below).

Following the military exercise, the beachgoers were allowed to return to the beach, the New York Daily News noted.

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"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, National Public Radio reported.

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

Believed to be one of the Russian Navy’s "Zubr class" (bison class) vessels, the 187-foot-long hovercraft is reportedly the largest of its kind as of 2012 and is designed to transport tanks and infantry onto beaches under hostile conditions, NPR noted.

The hovercraft rides on a cushion of air and can travel up to 68 miles per hour, holding up to 400 troops in addition to containing multiple missile launchers and gun mounts, the New York Daily News reported.

Despite the "terrible roar" and "big waves," which witnesses said preceded the massive vessel's landing on the beach, the majority of the sunbathers who were in the Zubr' path reportedly remained calm and simply walked out of the hovercraft's way as it docked at a relatively slow speed.

Military personnel then disembarked the hovercraft and forced the beachgoers, many of whom were reportedly taking video and pictures, off the beach.

There are presently nine "Zubr class" hovercrafts in active service around the world. The three nations that use them are: Russia, the Ukraine and Greece.

The Greek Navy's purchase of the Zubr signified the first time that a Russian-made ship was purchased by the navy of a NATO member.

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Related stories:

Putin Flexes Russian Military Muscle at West in Naval Exercise

Ammunition Fire Rages at Russian Military Base

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