Hero of the Crash of Flight 401 - "Angel of the Everglades” Dies

Robert “Bud” Marquis, 79, the hero of the Eastern Airlines Flight 401 crash that occurred on the night of December 29, 1972, in the Everglades 18 miles west of the Miami International Airport, died Friday, November 21, 2008 as a result of complications following injuries suffered during a fall.

Robert “Bud” Marquis (Bullfrog Bud) a resident of Homestead, Florida was the first to arrive on the scene of the crash of Eastern Airlines Flight 401 in the Florida Everglades, December 29, 1972.

The night of December 29, 1972 Robert 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 ten-foot-tall sawgrass and the plane’s debris to be the first person to render aid to victims of the crash.

Having no obligation, other than the 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.

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.

On December 3, 2007, 35 years following the Flight 401 incident, Robert “Bud” Marquis was honored at a ceremony held at the Metro-Dade Firefighters' Memorial Building. Survivors and family members of Flight 401’s passengers and crew attended to meet for the first time the man that saved their lives and the lives of their loved ones.

During the ceremony Bud Marquis was presented with the National Air Disaster Alliance/Foundation’s “Humanitarian Award,” the “Alumitec – Airboat Hero Award,” by the American Airboat Search and Rescue Association and a proclamation from the Miami-Dade County Board of Commissioners, proclaiming December 3, 2007 “Robert ‘Bud’ Marquis Day” in Miami-Dade County, for his actions at the scene of the crash of Flight 401 on the night of December 29, 1972.


Bud Marquis (right) accompanied by his son Donald (left) during the Dec. 3, 2007 ceremony.

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