Watch: The incredible Airbus Beluga XL takes maiden flight

Pigs may not be able to fly, but apparently whales can, as Airbus has just launched its astonishing looking new plane, the BelugaXL.

Painted to look like its namesake, a beluga whale, it completed a maiden flight today from southern France that was just over four hours long.

The BelugaXL has been built to help Airbus cart plane parts around Europe for its other models.

The whale paint job was voted for in a poll by over 20,000 people.

The giant plane needs to undergo another 586 hours of flight tests over ten months to become certified.

The whale paint job was voted for by over 20,000 people. Source: Seven Sharp

Children among at least 11 people dead after tourist boat accident on Missouri lake

At least 11 people, including children, died after a boat carrying tourists on a Missouri lake capsized and sank today, the local sheriff said.

Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said five people remain missing and seven others were hospitalized after a Ride the Ducks boat sank on Table Rock Lake in Branson.

A spokeswoman for the Cox Medical Center Branson said four adults and three children arrived at the hospital shortly after the incident. Two adults were in critical condition and the others were treated for minor injuries, Brandei Clifton said.

Rader said the stormy weather was believed to be the cause of the capsizing. Another duck boat on the lake was able to safely make it back to shore.

Steve Lindenberg, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Springfield, Missouri, said the agency issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the Branson area Thursday evening. Lindenberg said winds reached speeds of more than 60 mph.

"It's a warning telling people to take shelter," he said.

Rader said an off-duty sheriff's deputy working security for the boat company helped rescue people after the accident.

Dive teams from a number of law enforcement agencies were assisting in the effort, but the sheriff said the divers ended their search for the night.

The National Transportation Safety Board said on Twitter that investigators will arrive on the scene Friday morning.

Suzanne Smagala with Ripley Entertainment, which owns Ride the Ducks in Branson, said the company was assisting authorities with the rescue effort. Smagala added this was the Branson tour's first accident in more than 40 years of operation.

Duck boats, known for their ability to travel on land and in water, have been involved in other deadly incidents in the past. They include one in 2015 in Seattle in which five college students were killed when a boat collided with a bus, and one in 1999 that left 13 people dead after the boat sank near Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Safety advocates have sought improvements to the boats since the Arkansas incident. Critics argued that part of the problem is numerous agencies regulate the boats with varying safety requirements.

Duck boats were originally used by the US military in World War II to transport troops and supplies, and later were modified for use as sightseeing vehicles.

 A sheriff in Missouri said a tourist boat has apparently capsized on the lake, leaving several people dead and several others hospitalized. (Andrew Jansen/The Springfield News-Leader via AP)
Rescue crews work at the scene of a deadly boat accident at Table Rock Lake in Branson. Source: Associated Press


Australian farmer who claimed he tripped on eggplant during fatal shooting sent to jail

A Victorian farmer, who says he tripped on an eggplant when he fatally shot a man in the head, has been sentenced to five years' jail.

Angelo Russo, 55, pleaded guilty to manslaughter over the February 2017 death of David Calandro, 43, who was shot in front of his two young sons while sitting in his ute.

The shooting happened shortly after Mr Calandro's vehicle had hit and badly injured Russo's dog Harry at the latter's Tatura farm.

Both men knew each other and Mr Calandro had been at Russo's farm with his sons to pick some vegetables.

Russo had just put Harry out of his misery using a shotgun and was holding the firearm as he approached Mr Calandro's vehicle.

But he stumbled and hit the barrel of the gun on the driver's window.

The gun was faulty and unknown to Russo it could fire when bumped, which it did that day, fatally shooting Mr Calandro in the head.

Russo pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced in the Supreme Court on Friday to five years' jail with a minimum term of two-and-a-half years.

"David Calandro took his two young sons Flavian and Anton on what was supposed to be a pleasant jaunt to pick peppers on a farm," Justice Michael Croucher said.

"Regrettably, as a result of a series of ever-worsening decisions, first by Mr Calandro and then by Mr Russo, things turned very bad very quickly, and ultimately to utter tragedy."

Originally Mr Calandro had driven off without stopping when he hit the dog, which had been chasing the ute in the driveway.

But he soon returned to "confess to the error of his ways" shortly after Russo had shot the injured pooch.

Justice Croucher said Russo had "anger in his heart but no violence in mind" when he approached Mr Calandro's ute.

"Before either man could say anything, Mr Russo stumbled, possibly on an eggplant, causing the barrel of the gun to strike the driver's side window."

Mr Calandro was shot the head in front of his two sons in a "ghastly" scene, the judge said.

"The boys screamed and got out of the car. They were crying and in shock."

Russo should not have been holding the loaded gun when there were people around, particularly in his emotional state over his dog, the judge noted.

But the registered firearms owner had only recently bought the shotgun second- hand and was not aware it was faulty.

"It might even be said that there's a good deal of bad luck involved," Justice Croucher said.

"The gun would discharge upon being bumped. He did not pull the trigger."

Russo was originally charged with murder but it was later withdrawn and he pleaded guilty to manslaughter.