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Mystery Midnight “Fireball” Serves Up Barroom Speculation, and Vain Search, In Flagler Beach

| July 27, 2011

Some of the only flying objects in Flagler Beach this morning were identified as television satellite antennas looking for something to do. (FlaglerLive)

It’s been a placid morning in Flagler Beach. Seven surfers are attempting to catch unconvincing waves on the south side of the pier. The usual brood of fishermen is welcoming an overcast, damp morning on the pier. Crows are making their infernal racket. If it weren’t for a row of television news crews lined up on the north side of the pier, their satellite antennas craned to the sky in a desperate search for something to find, you wouldn’t know there was something amiss here.

And there isn’t.

People thought there was, just before midnight Tuesday, when drinkers at Finn’s, the restaurant and bar at the corner of State Road 100 and A1A, whose balcony offers a prime view of the ocean, reported seeing a fireball over the Atlantic. Like creationists who can pinpoint the birth of the planet at 4004 B.C., they reportedly pinpointed the distance, too: eight miles from shore. This was, literally, in the middle of the night.

The reports unleashed more than speculation.

And bemusement. Dan Cody, the Flagler Beach police chief, didn’t know what to make of the reports. “I don’t know,” he said, when asked about the speculation. “They woke me up and said they saw a big flash. Somebody said it was a flare, and they said no, it was something bigger than a flare, it was more of a flash, and they speculated it might have been a plane or something, so anyway, the fire department went out, the FWC went out,” that’s the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, “they couldn’t find anything. They called the Coast Guard, they haven’t found anything, to my knowledge. Then I heard it was something somewhere around the Topaz, something set off the beach, something that made a big explosion. That’s all I know. I don’t have a clue.”

Later in the morning, there were reports of people setting off a celebration lantern at the southern end of town. That’s the sort of thing that soars into the sky and either peters out or burns out, sometimes falling back down in a modest fireball.

A helicopter had flown off the coast of Flagler Beach in early morning, part of several agencies’ searches. Just before 9 a.m. (as this story was being written) the Coast Guard was saying that it was getting ready to call off the search.

“I’m sure it was something. People saw something,” Cody said. “The way it was told to me last night there were 25 or 30 people up at Finn’s that saw this flash. Hopefully we’ll find out what it is, hopefully it wasn’t anything serious.”

Just as the Coast Guard was calling off its search, the television crews were calling off theirs. Antennas dropped. Cameras were packed up. Vans rolled out.

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9 Responses for “Mystery Midnight “Fireball” Serves Up Barroom Speculation, and Vain Search, In Flagler Beach”

  1. Kendall says:

    Just what I thought…………. I was concerned that the source of the story was people sitting at Finns. Well I suppose it made for an amusing morning for everyone.

  2. elaygee says:

    Alcohol induced hysteria

  3. Sam says:

    This would have to be classified as a UFO…..
    Under Finns Observation

  4. mara says:

    There is, allegedly, a picture of this thing.

  5. Kendall says:

    The picture is a fake.

  6. mara says:

    Can you please be more specific, Kendall? What, exactly, is fake about it, and how do you know this?

  7. John Smith says:

    Finns should take up a collection to pay for the hours of service that took place from 1100pm to the morning hours by all of the personell who wasted there time looking for this false alarm.

  8. mara says:

    Soon as we get the details on the picture, we’ll have enough facts to decide whether or not it was a “wasted time”.

  9. Mike says:

    It’s amazing how tales can get so twisted, maybe not so surprising considering the time and source of the reports of the “fireball/plane crash”. I hope my input may help to clear up some of the speculation. I was on the beach in front of the Topaz Hotel that night, actually witnessed some guy setting off a few Chinese wish/celebration lanterns. They are basically a small tissue paper hot air balloon with a flame inside that makes them rise hundreds of feet upwards, can travel aglow with the breeze for several minutes. I saw them take off, watched them float over the pier [and in view of Finns] then slowly fade away as a small red spark high above the ocean. I can’t imagine how anyone could confuse what I witnessed that night as a plane going down in flames, meteorite, or UFO. I reviewed some of the news/postings….the photo shopped white streak over Flagler Beach pier that night is DEFINITELY a fake! Check the source; some Scandinavian UFO site with too much free time on their hands, and surely even the witnesses at Finns wouldn’t testify that they saw that image.

    After I read/followed up on the “Flagler Beach UFO, fireball, plane crash” …it seemed like quite a farce…however, ; I know that there is nothing funny about the time and effort spent by the local law officials, nor the cost and stress put upon the Coast Guard in their search for something that was never there. From what I’ve gleaned online…; All agencies responded quickly and appropriately, none took the risk of presuming that the source of information might be less than accurate or reliable…it’s just a shame that resources were spent on tainted information.

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