Eugene H. Hasenfus (born January 22, 1941 in Florida) is a United States citizen who was alleged by Nicaragua Sandinista authorities to be employed by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), after the aircraft he was aboard crashed on Nicaraguan soil.
Hasenfus was a former Marine from Marinette, Wisconsin, who had been an unemployed construction worker, at the time when he secured work, alleged by Sandinistas to be as a cargo handler for the CIA. This was stated by Hasenfus himself, who later retracted that statement.
Corporate Air Services HPF821
Hasenfus was aboard the Fairchild C-123 cargo plane, N4410F, formerly USAF 54-679, (c/n 20128), shot down over Nicaragua on October 5, 1986, while delivering supplies to the Nicaraguan Contras. During the Iran-Contra hearings in 1987, it was established that the aircraft was shot down while participating in a covert operation devised and approved by elements of the United States government. The two pilots and a radio operator died in the crash, but Hasenfus was able to parachute to safety, having disobeyed orders by wearing a parachute on the mission. He was captured by Nicaraguan Sandinista forces, was tried, and was ultimately sentenced to the maximum term of 30 years in prison. In December 1986, at the request of U.S. Senator Chris Dodd, he was pardoned and released by Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.
Hasenfus' capture and detention helped uncover and publicize the Iran-Contra Affair. A black book of phone numbers in the wreckage tied the plane to an operation based in Ilopango airbase in El Salvador, supported by anti-Castro exile Felix Rodriguez. Press speculation focused on retired Major General Jack Singlaub as the sponsor; this was encouraged by Oliver North to divert attention from the true head: Richard Secord.
Hasenfus subsequently unsuccessfully sued Secord, Albert Hakim, Southern Air Transport and Corporate Air Services over issues relating to Hasenfus' capture and trial. His lawyer in that case was current Miami District 2 Commissioner Marc D. Sarnoff.
- "Nicaragua Downs Plane and Survivor Implicates C.I.A". The New York Times. 1986-10-12. Retrieved 2008-06-07.
- "Hasenfus Tempers Comments on CIA". The New York Times. 1986-11-03. Retrieved 2008-06-07.
- Omang, Joanne, and Wilson, George C., "Questions About Plane's Origins Grow", Washington Post, Washington, D.C., Thursday, October 9, 1986, pages A-1, A-32
- Hasenfus v. Secord, 962 F.2d 1556 (1992).
- El Avion - Sister plane of Hasenfus' 1954 Model Fairchild C-123 abandoned by the CIA in Costa Rica
- News about Hasenfus at the NY Times.