Mammoth Hovercraft Startles Russian Beachgoers, Plows into Beach

Did a bunch of Russian marines get lost?

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Surf, turf and a massive battleship-gray hovercraft the length of over 11 full-sized commercial trucks — which of these things doesn’t belong?

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Throngs of Baltic coast sunbathers got to see for themselves when a 187-foot long, 555-ton (at full load) military sea-craft literally floating on a cushion of air appeared near a beach in Mechnikovo, Kaliningrad, then proceeded to charge ashore. In the amateur video above, hundreds of onlookers in swim trunks and bikinis stand in astonishment as the ship — a Zubr-class landing craft, currently the world’s largest — approaches, spraying foam so high it at times obscures the entire vessel, then plows right into the beach like it’s no big thing.

The U.K.’s Metro reports that people on the beach heard a “terrible roar” and witnessed “big waves” as the vehicle made its way onto shore, though Russian news site RT says no one was harmed during what the Russian defense ministry described as a routine military operation. Metro reports that marines onboard the craft quickly emerged to secure the area around it, ordering people to take their belongings and leave the area.

“Docking at the beach is a regular practice,” said a spokesperson with the Ministry of Defense (via RT). “What we don’t know is what people were doing at the beach, which is within the military firing range.”

It’s not clear whether that statement’s accurate: Russian tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda, cited by RT in its story, reported that the base the defense ministry spokesperson is referring to is in Khmelevka, reportedly located several kilometers from the beach at Mechnikovo where the hovercraft came ashore.

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