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U.S. Navy hovercraft lands on San Francisco beach

  • A Marine helicopter does a flyover and people watch as a Navy hovercraft begins its departure from Ocean Beach after a disaster response training exercise in San Francisco, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012. The arrival of the amphibious military vehicle helped kick off this year's San Francisco Fleet Week. The Navy showcased the hovercraft and its mobile surgical center to city emergency management officials. Officials say the hovercraft, also known as Landing Craft Air Cushion, could deliver supplies, equipment and personnel to San Francisco if a major earthquake or other disaster takes out roads and bridges. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

SAN FRANCISCO — A Navy hovercraft landed on a San Francisco beach for the first time Wednesday to demonstrate the military's ability to respond to disasters such as a massive earthquake.

As spectators lined Ocean Beach to snap photos and watch, the amphibious vehicle hit the shore around 10:15 a.m. to help kick off this year's San Francisco Fleet Week. It left in a cloud of sand and ocean spray about 45 minutes later and returned to its mother ship, the USS Makin Island.

The Navy was showcasing the hovercraft, also known as a Landing Craft Air Cushion or LCAC, and its mobile surgical center to city emergency management officials as well as San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.

Officials say the LCAC can deliver supplies, equipment and personnel to San Francisco and other U.S. cities if a major earthquake or other disaster takes out roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure.

The hovercraft has been used to respond to humanitarian crises such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.


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