Cracks appear: The "Flying Bum" has torn in two after it broke free of its mooring

 
Emma Haslett
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World's Longest Aircraft Unveiled
The Flying Bum triggered a safety mechanism which tore it in two (Source: Getty)

A giant zeppelin claimed to be the world's longest aircraft tore itself in two after it broke free of its mooring, leaving one person in hospital, the company behind it has said.

The 92m Airlander 10, dubbed the "Flying Bum" because of its distinctive shape, was moored at Cardington airfield when it broke free, before triggering a safety mechanism which deflated it, according to Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), the company which made the £25m aircraft.

"The aircraft has a safety system which operates automatically in circumstances of the aircraft breaking free of its mast, and is designed to rip open the hull and deflate the aircraft. This is a safety feature to ensure our aircraft minimises any potential damage to its surroundings in these circumstances," it added.

"We are testing a brand new type of aircraft and incidents of this nature can occur during this phase of development. We will assess the cause of the incident and the extent of repairs needed to the aircraft in the next few weeks."

One staff member sustained minor injuries and was taken to hospital for assessment after the incident, HAV added.

The BBC quoted an eyewitness who said it looked as though the aircraft had "[broken] in two".

Last August a video emerged of the zeppelin in a slow-motion crash during its second test flight, which caused damage to its cockpit.

In January HAV said it is planning to raise £50m through an initial public offering on London's junior market.

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