Huge Russian Hovercraft Interrupts Beachgoers in Spectacular Fashion

Nothing says "relaxing day at the beach" like sand, surf, sunscreen, and the sudden arrival of the world's largest militarized hovercraft, amirite?

The footage shows one of Russia's colossal Zubr-class landing crafts making landfall about as casually as a 550-ton military hovercraft can do such a thing, which is to say: not casually at all. Russia's Zubrs (which can come equipped with missile launchers, automatic gun mounts, etc.), after all, are reportedly the largest hovercrafts on Earth, and are built to accommodate an array of armored tanks and vehicles, not to mention hundreds of troops. Needless to say, a routine docking exercise is not the kind of thing an aquatic craft with a Zubr's heft does discreetly, especially not in the presence of hundreds of sunscreen-slathered civvies.

But then what the hell were hundreds of sunscreen-slathered civvies doing on this particular beach (located somewhere in Mechnikovo, near the Russian port city of Kaliningrad), anyway? Or was it the Zubr that was lost? Various outlets quote a spokesperson for the Russian defense ministry as saying that "docking at the beach... is a normal event," but that "what people were doing at the beach on the territory of a military base is unclear."

Sooo... who dropped the ball here? Perhaps a more pressing question: even if hundreds of people were trespassing on a government-owned beach, didn't whoever was in charge of the hovercraft see that the beach was crowded with people? If so, does that mean someone gave the go-ahead to land anyway, right in the thick of things, in a sort of don't-worry-about-it-they'll-get-out-of-the-way decision? Pretty ballsy, if you ask us. Oh wait – Russia.

[Via Telegraph, Irish Times]