Airlander Statement - 18 November 2017

Today there was an incident with the Airlander aircraft at Cardington airfield.  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 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.  The aircraft is now deflated and secure on the edge of the airfield.  The fuel and helium inside the Airlander have been made safe. 
 
A member of HAV staff sustained minor injuries and was taken to hospital for assessment as a precaution.  She has since been discharged.  A separate member of staff also sustained minor injuries while dealing with the aftermath of the incident. 
 
A number of local roads and a local footpath were temporarily closed off by Bedfordshire Police and we apologise for any inconvenience this has caused local residents. 
 
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.
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