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Woman injured after world's largest aircraft breaks free from moorings

The Airlander uses helium to become airborne and can carry 10 tonnes of cargo Credit: PA

A woman has been taken to hospital after the world's largest aircraft, the Airlander 10, broke free of its moorings.

The hull of the craft - which is part-plane, part-airship - ripped and deflated following the mishap, leaving it collapsed at Cardington Airfield in Bedfordshire.

The aircraft had taken to the skies in May for the first time following a crash in August last year in which its cockpit was severely damaged.

The woman, who suffered minor injuries, is an employee of Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), which built the craft.

Another member of staff also sustained minor injuries while dealing with the aftermath, the firm added.

The hull of the aircraft ripped and deflated following the mishap Credit: PA

HAV said it was investigating why the £25 million aircraft broke free and added its hull was designed to rip open and deflate in the event of coming loose.

The firm said: "The aircraft was not flying at the time of the incident.

"Our initial assessment is that the aircraft broke free from its mooring mast for reasons that will be investigated."

The craft was left collapsed at Cardington Airfield in Bedfordshire Credit: PA

HAV said the aircraft's safety system was designed to ensure that if it broke free from its moorings the hull would tear and deflate.

"This is a safety feature to ensure our aircraft minimises any potential damage to its surroundings in these circumstances," the company said.

"The aircraft is now deflated and secure on the edge of the airfield. The fuel and helium inside the Airlander have been made safe."

The Airlander uses helium to become airborne and can carry 10 tonnes of cargo.

It is 302ft (92 metres) long, 143ft (44 metres) wide, 85ft (26 metres) high and can travel at 92mph.