Eastern Airlines Flight 401 victims honored with new monument in Miami Springs

MIAMI SPRINGS, Fla. – Exactly fifty years ago, Eastern Airlines Flight 401 mysteriously slammed into the Florida Everglades at over 200 miles per hour.

On Thursday, a permanent monument was unveiled in Miami Springs to remember the 101 souls that were lost that day.

“So that they will never, ever be forgotten,” said Beverly Raposa, a flight attendant on Flight 401.

The names of the 101 passengers who were killed were read in a ceremony that was attended by family members and some of the 75 who survived.

Footage of the crash site from that day shows tray tables and luggage left strewn across a stretch of the Everglades.

A frog hunter on an airboat rushed to the scene that night.

Local 10 News interviewed Bud Marcus in 2007.

“There was nothing out there that night but me,” he said.

Flight attendant Beverly Raposa was the mastermind behind the new monument.

“Today was a very important day because these 101 souls who perished should never, ever be forgotten. Their lives were not in vain,” she said.

Raposa presented the plan to the city of Miami Springs, who approved it in June.

“It’s a great story, certainly a testament to the City of Miami Springs to have the monument in our municipality and as I said in my speech, a forever home for it,” said Miami Springs City Councilman Bob Best.

Among survivors and families at Thursday’s event were other Eastern Airlines employees who can clearly remember the news from that day.

“Nobody knew exactly what happened,” said former Eastern flight attendant Irene Baljed. “We had very little information at first.”

At the time, it was one of the deadliest plane crashes in U.S. history.

A subsequent government investigation narrowed the cause down to four possibilities. Among those possibilities, a brain condition the pilot may have had that may have suddenly impaired his eyesight.

About the Author:

Cody Weddle joined Local 10 News as a full-time reporter in South Florida in August of 2022. Before that, Cody worked regularly with Local 10 since January of 2017 as a foreign correspondent in Venezuela and Colombia.