MIAMI — Thirty-seven years ago Tuesday night, one of South Florida's worst air disasters played out in the Everglades with the crash of Eastern Airlines Flight 401.
Now, for the first time, a group of survivors -- passengers and crew members -- will gather to mark the anniversary of the Dec. 29, 1972, crash at 8 p.m. at the 94th Aero Squadron Restaurant, 1395 NW 57th Ave., within view of the Miami International Airport runways the L-1011 never reached that night.
Among those attending will be flight attendants Mercy Ruiz and Beverly Raposa and passengers Ron Infantino and Jan Coviello, all of South Florida.
"We decided that this is the year when we should mark the anniversary together,'' said Raposa, one of the founders of the Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group, which is trying to build a memorial in Miami-Dade to honor the 101 passengers who died that night.
The New York-to-Miami flight crashed after the cockpit crew became distracted with a faulty landing gear light and the plane descended unnoticed, slamming into the Everglades. There were 75 survivors.
The crash changed the airline industry. To avoid crew distraction like the one that brought the first jumbo jet down, Crew Resource Management, or CRM was implemented to regulate behavior on every plane in the sky.