After all these years, something that likely was lost in one of two tragic jetliner crashes in the Florida Everglades finally might be making its way home to the right family, thanks to a man who was looking for Burmese pythons.
MIAMI (AP) — Like most people who signed up for Florida’s official Burmese python hunt last winter, Mark Rubinstein slogged a couple times through the Everglades without ever seeing one of the elusive snakes.
Something else caught his eye, though.
In the dirt along a levee, about 10 miles deep into the wetlands, Rubinstein found a gold pendant, with sapphires forming a cross inside a circle of diamonds. One edge of the penny-sized medallion was melted and misshapen.
It may have fallen from the sky. Rubinstein was hunting near the crash sites of two airplanes that went down in the same area: Eastern Flight 401, a New York flight that crashed as it prepared to land in Miami in 1972, and ValuJet Flight 592, a 1996 flight to Atlanta that caught fire shortly after takeoff and plummeted into the remote swamps west of Miami. READ MORE.
I also wrote about the 2007 reunion of the Eastern Flight 401 survivors with their airboat hero. Rereading those interviews now, it’s amazing how many little things went wrong and led to the crash, but it’s also amazing how many things went right so that 77 people could be saved.
… From 10 miles away, Bud Marquis and his friend saw a fiery orange flash and sped toward it.
Marquis had recently turned to commercial frogging after years as a state game officer. He knew how to pick out island silhouettes in the dark, to feel the changing terrain beneath his boat. Fifteen minutes later, he reached a levee where he’d thought he’d seen the flash.
Marquis heard a voice: “I can’t hold my head up anymore!” Jet fuel seeped into his boots when he jumped into the water to yank the man up. All around, he could see people still strapped in their seats, some turned face down in the water.
“I’m one person in the midst of all this,” Marquis said. “I’m no doctor. I didn’t know what to do.” READ MORE.