Memorial held for Eastern Flight crash anniversary

Loved ones, survivors remember Eastern Flight victims

EVERGLADES, Fla. - A memorial and candlelight vigil was held on the 40th anniversary of the Eastern Flight 401 crash.

Loved ones and survivors gathered Saturday at the Value Jet memorial off Tamiami Trail in the Everglades to remember the 101 victims of the tragic crash. As each victim's name was read, a bell tolled in their memory.

Eastern Flight 401 crashed on its way from New York City, when the cockpit crew became distracted with faulty landing gear and didn't notice they were descending until it was too late.

Shelly Shapiro attended the memorial. She told Local 10 she lived in New York when she found out her sister and brother-in-law were killed in the crash. Her sister was also eight months pregnant.

"Forty years, seems just like yesterday," Shapiro said.

Patricia McQuigg was a flight attendant and remembers the crash clearly.

"We were going very fast. I was sitting in my jump seat, and just hoping and praying -- after I realized we had crashed -- that we would be alive when it stopped," McQuigg said.

McQuigg was the first flight attendant to be rescued from the wreckage, and continues to work as a flight attendant today.

The group gathered at the Value Jet memorial because there is no memorial yet for the Eastern flight. The survivors are working to raise money to make a memorial.

After gathering there, the group then went to a candlelight vigil at the 94th Aerosquadron restaurant near Miami International Airport. The location isn't far from where they hope to build the memorial to commemorate the crash.

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