It was on this day in 1986 that a Fairchild C-123 cargo plane was shot down over a jungle in Nicaragua. Three men were killed, but former US Marine Eugene Hasenfus was able to parachute to the ground where he was captured the next day by Nicaraguan forces. During questioning he admitted that the plane was delivering cargo and arms to the Contras (a local group rebelling against the gov’t) and said he was doing so on behalf of the CIA. An examination of the plane’s wreckage turned up a “little black book” of contact’s names and phone numbers. He was sentenced to 25 years in jail* by the South American country and what became known as the Iran-Contra scandal started to unfold in the US.
(*Nicaraguan Pres. Ortega released Hasenfusa a few weeks later, and he returned to his home in Marinette, WI)
The earliest event that Wiki says happened on this day is “610 – Coronation of Byzantine Emperor Heraclius” and the most recent is “2001 – Robert Stevens becomes the first victim in the 2001 anthrax attacks.”
A few other things that also took place on this day are:
1962 – The first James Bond film, Dr. No, is released.
1969 – Cuban pilot Lt. Eduardo Guerra Jiminez lands a MiG-17 at Homestead Air Force Base near Miami and asks for asylum. Not only did American defenses fail to detect him, but Air Force One was also parked at the base.
1970 – The Public Broadcasting Service is founded.
Happy birthday to Kate Winslet, Bob Geldof, Karen Allen, Tawl Ross, Brian Johnson, Steve Miller,Richard Street, Richard F. Gordon, Jr., and Bil Keane.