Friday, May 25, 2018
Bizarre News

Bizarre fish strike forces MacDill flight to abort takeoff (w/video)

They're calling it their own version of Sharknado. Only this one is Fishnado!

A story that published late last month on the MacDill Air Force Base website told of a bizarre tale in which a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration plane had to abort its takeoff because it was struck by a fish.

It was a 9-inch sheepshead to be exact.

On Sept. 10, according to the story, Lt. Cmdr. Nick Toth, a NOAA pilot, and his crew aboard a Gulfstream GIV were cleared for takeoff around 10:50 a.m.

"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," Toth said in the online story. "We saw that the osprey did not gain enough altitude, and that it passed underneath the center line of the aircraft."

Then the crew heard a thud and, assuming they had hit the osprey, aborted the takeoff. The aircraft taxied back to a hangar for inspection.

They called in someone from the base's Airfield Management and Operations and Wildlife Management to see if they could find the osprey.

Lindsey Garven, a 6th Air Mobility Wing Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard contractor, told the website her crew swept the runway but didn't find anything until they reached the end of the runway. There was the sheepshead.

She collected the fish and then took some DNA from the aircraft and sent the samples to the Smithsonian Feather Identification Laboratory in Washington.

Sure enough, it was the sheepshead that had struck the plane.

The crew suspects that the osprey was eating the fish on the runway and took off when the airplane approached. The bird barely got away and probably would have struck the aircraft if it hadn't let go of its catch.

Now it will be known as the one that got away.

Information from the MacDill Air Force Base website was used in this report.

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