35th Anniversary of Eastern Airlines Flight 401

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December 29, 2007 will mark the 35th anniversary of the crash of Eastern Airlines Flight 401, in the Florida Everglades. A ceremony to honor the victims, survivors and family members of Flight 401 will be held December 3, 2007, at the Metro-Dade Firefighters' Memorial Building, Doral, Florida.

December 29 will mark the 35 anniversary of the Eastern Airlines Flight 401 tragedy. In memoriam of the victims of that event and a tribute to the survivors, family members and rescue personnel, a ceremony will be held Monday, December 3, 2:00 p.m., at the Metro-Dade Firefighters' Memorial Building, 8000 Northwest 21st Street, Doral, Florida. The event is open to all interested parties.

The guest of honor will be 78-year-old, Mr. Robert "Bud" Marquis, who was the first civilian rescuer to arrive at the crash site in his personal airboat and render aid.

The night of December 29, 1972 Bud Marquis and his partner Ray Dickinsin (deceased) witnessed Flight 401 go down in the Everglades, while frog gigging 18 miles west of the Miami-International Airport.

In the dark of night, Bud Marquis navigated his personal airboat through the sawgrass and debris of the plane to be the first person to render aid to victims of the crash.

Having no obligation, other than his commitment to his fellow man and without regard for his personal safety, Bud Marquis waded through jet fuel and hydraulic fluid filled water, choked with jagged metal and debris to free passengers still strapped into their seats. Mr. Marquis braved the burning fuselage to free trapped and injured victims. In doing so, he sustained burns to his arms, legs and face.

It was Mr. Marquis who used the headlamp that only a few minutes before he had been using for gigging frogs, to signal and direct the first arriving Coast Guard helicopter to the crash site.

Through the night and into the next day Bud Marquis used his airboat to shuttle rescuers, medical personnel and victims to and from the crash site, to awaiting ambulances.

Mr. Robert "Bud" Marquis of Homestead, Florida will be honored with the presentation of the National Air Disaster Alliance/Foundation's "Humanitarian Award," at the 35th anniversary memorial tribute to the survivors, victims and family members of Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Monday, December 3, 2007 at 2:00 p.m., at the Metro-Dade Firefighter's Memorial Building, in Doral, Florida. The event is open to all interested parties.

For directions to the Metro-Dade Firefighters' Memorial Building call: 305-593-6100. For information on the ceremony call: 941-866-5554

Special thanks to the following organizations for making this event possible:
Metro-Dade Firefighter's Union Local 1403
American Airboat Search and Rescue Association
National Air Disaster Alliance / Foundation
FL-3 Airboat Search and Rescue
Gator Guides, Tampa, Florida

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Michael Wade

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