The video shows the massive craft plunging slowly, nose-first, into the ground, then bouncing just as slowly back to horizontal with visible damage to the cockpit (damage that is made clearer in other images uploaded by spectators to social media and re-posted by CNN).
Hybrid Air Vehicles built and flew the Airlander 10 at a facility north of London, England, and raised a reported $4.4 million through crowdfunding. Plans remain on the drawing board for a larger version able to tote 50 tons of cargo and remain aloft for days.
It remains unclear what caused the Aug. 24 mishap. The company released a brief statement on social media, which notes the crew was unharmed but does not speculate on the cause of the incident, which is also under investigation by British authorities.
Hybrid Air Vehicles is one of two companies working to develop large dirigibles for cargo hauling and other applications. A Los Angeles company, Aeroscraft, is working on a similar design that is expected to have a 65-ton cargo capacity.