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The world’s largest aircraft just tore itself apart in a field

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The world’s largest aircraft suffered more problems over the weekend when it slipped free from its mooring mast before automatically tearing apart and coming to rest in a crumpled heap in a field. Two people sustained minor injuries as a result of the incident.

It’s the second disaster to hit the enormous Airlander 10 — also known as “the Flying Bum” for its butt-shaped leading end — in the space of 15 months.

The 92-meter-long (302 feet) flying machine came loose from its mooring at an airfield in Bedfordshire, about 40 miles north of London, England, on Saturday morning. Shortly after coming free, a safety mechanism automatically ripped open the hull to rapidly deflate the aircraft, causing it to collapse and return quickly to terra firma, the company said.

The Airlander’s manufacturer, Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), confirmed in a message on Facebook that the aircraft was not in use when the incident took place, adding that it’s now trying to determine what exactly went wrong.

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Lifted by helium and powered by four turbocharged diesel engines for a top speed of 90 mph, the the part-airplane, part-airship is capable of reaching heights of 4,900 meters (16,000 feet) and can stay airborne for as long as two weeks. At least, that’s when everything goes to plan. On Saturday, something went seriously wrong.

“The aircraft is now deflated and secure on the edge of the airfield,” HAV confirmed, adding that the fuel and helium inside the Airlander “have been made safe.”

It said that one person was injured during the incident, while another needed hospital treatment after an accident while dealing with the aftermath.

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

The Airlander is capable of carrying cargo of up to 10 tons, though design modifications could see that increase to 50 tons. And with its ability to land on not only solid ground, but also water, desert, and ice, the Airlander could fulfill a range of roles — including research, surveillance, cargo transportation, and passenger trips — pretty much anywhere on the planet.

The day before Saturday’s accident, the Airlander completed its sixth test flight since August, 2016.

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Burkina Faso Enhance Army with New Cobra Armoured Vehicles

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The Burkinabe Army paraded four Otokar Cobra armoured personnel carriers (APCs) during Burkina Faso’s 11 December Independence Day parade in Manga, making it the latest known user of the Turkish-made vehicle.



A Burkinabe military source told newsmen that an undisclosed number of Cobras have been delivered since September, with several currently deployed in the East Region, where counter-terrorist operations are ongoing.

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Cobra 3

The source added that the first Cobras are operated by Commando Infantry Regiments (RIC) of the Burkinabe Army, but additional vehicles are expected to be delivered to the Combined Regiments (RIA). Burkina fields two such units, which combine armoured cavalry squadrons and motorised infantry companies.

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-Janes

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Important Steps to follow in case of vehicle accidents

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It’s important to know and understand how to prevent motor vehicle accidents. However, if the worst happens, would you know what to do? This equally important aspect of understanding road safety is often overlooked.

Thankfully, not all car accidents are fatal. And whatever the degree of damage, while it may not lessen the shock of a collision, it can ease the frustration of both parties if they know what steps to follow to make insurance claims easier.



Know the law

Section 61 of the National Road Traffic Act of 1996 states that in the event of an accident, where: a person or an animal was killed or injured, or any property like a vehicle was damaged, certain steps must be taken in line with the law.

The driver must:

    • Stop the vehicle and ascertain if there are any injuries;
    • Offer the assistance to injured persons;
    • Ascertain the nature and extent of damage sustained;
    • Request the name, address, vehicle registration and driver’s licence details, as well as the identity number of the other party; and
    • Report the accident to the relevant police station within 24 hours.

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Credible evidence

According to the act, there are important other rules that must also be observed. The law further specifies that the driver may not take any intoxicating liquor or drug that has a narcotic effect, unless he or she has reported the accident to a police officer

Moreover, no person may remove any vehicle involved in an accident – in which another person was killed or injured – from the position in which it came to rest, until a traffic officer has given permission for it to be removed.

Only if the accident causes total obstruction of a public road can the vehicle be moved, and only after its position has been clearly marked on the surface of the roadway.

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Possible pitfalls

You should also take pictures of the accident scene.

Further penalties during the claim process could come due to driving under the influence of alcohol, without a valid driver’s license for the vehicle being operated, driving an unlicensed or unroadworthy vehicle and not paying your insurance premium, says Tshifularo.

Tshifularo also cautions that you should not let a tow-truck driver coerce you into towing your car without making sure that it is a tow truck authorised by your insurance company.

“Otherwise you could be liable for the costs and have to spend a lot of time and energy trying to track your vehicle down.”

“After an accident, it’s very important to stay calm and rational.

“Arguing over whose fault the accident was or panicking is not going to help the situation. Instead, take charge and follow the procedure in as calm a manner as possible,” Tshifularo says.

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-Soweto Live

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