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Giant Russian hovercraft sends sunbathers scrambling

A gigantic military hovercraft sent sunbathers fleeing in panic when it made an unexpected landing on a beach on Russia's Baltic Sea coast last weekend.

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The Soviet-era vehicle - which is used to transport troops and tanks to inhospitable shores - did not appear to slow down as it approached the sea of sun umbrellas and bathers.

Russia's Defence Ministry confirmed the incident explaining that the ship and its crew had been carrying out a routine training exercise at a nearby military base.

One Russian newspaper, Komsomolskaya Pravda, cited locals as saying that the military base was in fact several miles away, and the pilot might have been lost.

At almost 60 metres in length, the Zubr-class landing craft is believed to be the world's largest type of hovercraft and can reach speeds of more than 70 mph.