Welcome to the FMWA’s Florida’s Crazy Blog Hop!

“Florida is a giant bug light for crazy people.” – Phyllis Smallman, SleuthFest 2014
It’s no surprise to any author living in Florida that some of the craziest stories we can write are actually inspired by true events in our sunshine state. Join us in exploring a different side of Florida than the travel bureau promotes with our first Blog Hop sponsored by Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. Read on, click the links below to read another member’s view of crazy Florida, comment, share your favorite stories, and enter the contest to win a Kindle Paperwhite.


You’ve heard of Sharknado, and maybe even Sharknado 2.

But how about Fishnado!?!

Would you believe me if I told you a plane had to make an emergency landing because it hit a fish?

It’s not a new cinematic experience or a wild tale from one of my thrillers — it’s one of those bizarre stories that happens “only in Florida…”

And it’s true. A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration plane was taking off from MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa when something happened.

You might be thinking, “How could a plane hit a fish?”

Here’s how the story goes. Last September, a NOAA pilot and his crew were aboard a Gulfstream GIV, like the one pictured below. The pilot was Lt. Cmdr. Nick Toth.

Credit: NOAA

Credit: NOAA

In an online article published from MacDill Air Force Base, Toth is quoted as explaining, “We were nearing the point in the takeoff where we needed to rotate, or raise the nose of the airplane off the ground, when an Osprey with something in its claws flew in front of our aircraft. We saw that the Osprey did not gain enough altitude, and that it passed underneath the centerline of the aircraft.”

Then, the plot develops. The crew heard a loud thud. Assuming they had hit the Osprey, they canceled takeoff and turned back to the hangar.

Officials searched the runway and found no sign of an Osprey. Instead, they found a 9-inch sheepshead fish! Here’s a picture of it, with other objects for size perspective.

Fishnado Fish

Courtesy MacDill Air Force Base

Wildlife Management sent DNA samples from both the fish and the aircraft to the Smithsonian Feather Identification Laboratory in Washington, D.C.

Scientists confirmed, the DNA samples matched, and the plane did, in fact, hit a fish.

Officials decided the Osprey must have been eating the fish on the runway and then flew away to avoid the jet, dropping the fish on its way up. The plane was not damaged, and the crew was not hurt.

It’s the first recorded fish strike in all of NOAA’s history.

“Only in Florida”, right??

It’s these kind of crazy stories that inspire the plot twists and turns in my books. For more wacky stories from Florida, check out the list of blog posts below!

Enter now to win a Kindle Paperwhite.
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Visit our Other Contributors and win more prizes:

Victoria Allman, Gator

Miriam Auerbach, Bonkers in

Gregg E. Brickman, Crazy South Florida—How it got to be home,

Diane Capri, Fishnado!,

Nancy J. Cohen, Characters Too Weird to Be True

Joan Lipinsky Cochran, The Million Dollar Squatter: Crazy in the Land of Coconuts and Bagels,

jd daniels, He Did What?,

Joy Wallace Dickinson, “In Florida, It’s Great to Be a Cracker”,

Dallas Gorhman,

Linda Gordon Hengerer, Crazy Treasure on the Treasure Coast,

Vicki Landis, Eavesdropping 101,

Sandy Parks, Keep your eyes to the Florida skies,

Neil Plakcy, Moscow on the Intracoastal,

Johnny Ray, Utilizing Google Plus Air to Facilitate Author Interviews,

Joanna Campbell Slan, Honey, You’ll Never Guess What Rolled Up in the Surf,

Meanwhile --

Caffeinate and Carry On!

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