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Hovercraft Lands On San Francisco’s Ocean Beach For Fleet Week

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A U.S. Navy hovercraft lands on Ocean Beach in San Francisco, October 3, 2012. (CBS)

A U.S. Navy hovercraft lands on Ocean Beach in San Francisco, October 3, 2012. (CBS)

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A Navy hovercraft has landed on San Francisco’s Ocean Beach as part of a disaster response training exercise during Fleet Week.

The amphibious military vehicle arrived around 10:15 a.m. Wednesday to help kick off this year’s San Francisco Fleet Week. It left in a cloud of sand about 45 minutes later.

The Navy was showcasing the hovercraft and its mobile surgical center to city emergency management officials as well as Mayor Ed Lee.

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.

The hovercraft has been used to respond to disasters such as Hurricane Katrina.

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The hovercraft landing was part of a host of events happening during San Francisco’s Fleet Week.

“You will hear jets over the city of San Francisco” Thursday through Sunday, San Francisco Fleet Week Association spokesperson David Perry said.

Perry suggested viewing the jets any place along the water. The air show usually stays toward the eastern San Francisco Bay side of the city, but covers most of the city’s airspace.

KCBS’ Janice Wright Reports:

Starting Friday at 12:30 p.m., the Blue Angels team will be part of an air show that continues throughout the weekend on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. and Sunday at noon with a full Fleet Week air show featuring the squadron’s engines roaring at 3 p.m. on both weekend days.

Here on solid ground, a meet-and-greet with the Blue Angels team will be held at San Francisco’s Pier 39 Fri Here on solid ground, a meet-and-greet with the Blue Angels team will be held at San Francisco’s Pier 39 Friday night at 7:15 p.m.

The amphibious hovercraft, which is officially called a landing craft air cushion, operates from the USS Makin Island, which is an assault ship that will be berthed at Piers 30/32, and Marines will showcase the craft’s abilities in a disaster situation at the beach.

Tours of the USS Makin Island will be available over the weekend, event organizers said.

Participants can tour a range of other ships from the Navy and U.S. Coast Guard docked along the southern waterfront, Pier 80 and Piers 30/32 Friday through Monday.

Visiting hours vary by ship throughout the weekend.

Several ships, including those from the Royal Canadian Navy, will set sail Saturday morning at 11 a.m. as part of the Parade of Ships and sail under the Golden Gate Bridge and head to their various berths along the Bay.

On top of the packed Fleet Week weekend schedule is the America’s Cup World Series racing from 2 p.m. Organizers advise viewing the sailing race from the Crissy Field and Marina District areas.

Fleet Week is organized by the San Francisco Fleet Week Association, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to honor the men and women in the U.S. Armed Forces and to conduct and offer disaster preparedness training.

Organizers were urging attendees to take public transit and check online for any service or changes.

More information about Fleet Week can be found at www.fleetweek.us.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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