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Nicaraguan Tribunal Takes Hasenfus to Site of Arms-Supply Plane Crash

November 10, 1986|From Times Wire Services

El TULE, Nicaragua--American Eugene Hasenfus returned Sunday to the Nicaraguan jungle to inspect the wreckage of the cargo plane in which he was flying to deliver supplies to U.S.-backed contras when it was shot down last month.

Hasenfus, 45, was taken by helicopter to the remote jungle region of El Tule, about 100 miles southeast of Managua, along with officials of the People's Tribunal who are trying him on charges of terrorism, criminal association and violation of public security laws.

Hasenfus was led handcuffed to the site, where he wandered around the wreckage of the C-123. He was captured Oct. 6, a day after parachuting to safety.

The former construction worker and one-time U.S. Marine showed no emotion as he inspected the mangled fuselage of the plane, downed by a Sandinista soldier's surface-to-air missile.

The 36-minute visit was conducted as an official hearing in the trial, which is expected to finish later this week.

Asked by tribunal President Reynaldo Monterrey if it was the plane in which he had flown, Hasenfus replied: "It appears to be. It looked a lot different last time I saw it."

His fellow crewmen, Americans William J. Cooper and Wallace Blaine Sawyer, were killed along with a Nicaraguan radio operator when the plane crashed into the jungle with a cargo of guns.

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