Eastern Air Lines Flight 401
Just before midnight on December 29, 1972, Eastern Air Lines Flight 401, traveling from New York to Miami, crashed into the Florida Everglades, killing nearly two thirds of the passengers on board. Crashing into the swamp softened the landing and likely saved dozens, but the remote location made rescue efforts complicated and required a cooperative effort between first responders and local civilians.
The crash came at a difficult time for the airline industry, following closely on a number of several high-profile hijackings and examples of equipment malfunctions that negatively affected ticket sales. This only got worse when the investigation into Flight 401 was concluded and the cause of the crash was determined to be operator error when the flight crew became distracted and unaware that the autopilot had switched itself off.
In the months and years that followed, several Eastern Air employees and survivors of Flight 401 began reporting sightings of the ghosts of crew members and passengers who died in the crash. Although Eastern Air went out of their way to deny any sightings, the stories spread and became a part of Florida folklore as the subject of books, television films, and even a public spectacle as part of Ed and Lorraine Warren’s Occult Museum in Connecticut.
Thank you to the glorious David White, of Bring Me the Axe podcast, for research assistance :)
Aguila, Grethel. 2022. "'We're down.' Flight 401 crashed in Miami 50 years ago." Miami Herald, December 21: A3.
Associated Press. 1980. "Eastern still fighting ghost." Honolulu Star-Bulletin, August 28: 52.
Baxter, Mike. 1972. "Rescue armada mobilized within half hour." Miami Herald, December 31: 15.
Fuller, John. 1976. The Ghost of Flight 401. New York, NY: Berkley Publishing Corporation.
Jenkins, Greg. 2005. Florida's Ghostly Legends And Haunted Folklore: South And Central Florida (volume one). Sarasota, FL: Pineapple Press.
Kay, Jennifer. 2007. "Everglades jet crash haunts hero." Rocky Mountain News, December 26.
National Transportation Safety Board. 1973. Aircraft Accident Reports: Eastern Air Lines L-1011, N310EA. Aircraft accident report, Washington D.C.: National Transportation Safety Board.
Orlando Evening Star. 1972. "Stewardess sings carols to survivors." Orlando Evening Star, December 30: 1.
Star Services. 1972. "Many survive Everglades jet crash." Orlando Evening Star, December 30: 1.