Ex-CIA Airline Put Up Cash for Hasenfus Plane
Southern Air Transport advanced money to a secret buyer for purchase of the cargo plane that later was shot down on a weapons supply run to Nicaraguan rebels, the company president said in an interview published Wednesday.
The president, William G. Langton, told the Miami Herald that Southern Air paid Harry Doan, a Daytona Beach airplane trader, more than $300,000 for the C-123 cargo plane six months before it was shot down.
An anonymous customer needed the plane but did not have cash available at the time, Langton said.
The plane was shot down Oct. 5, on an attempt to deliver weapons to Nicaraguan opposition forces. The sole survivor of the crash, Eugene Hasenfus, was captured, tried and sentenced to 30 years in prison in Nicaragua, but was pardoned Wednesday.
Denies CIA Link
Langton said he granted the interview because of erroneous news reports and speculation that Southern Air is still involved with the CIA, which owned the company from 1960 until 1973.
“This company has no connection or affiliation with the CIA, period,” Langton said. “We are a cargo carrier. We haul cargo for our customers.”
Langton also said that Southern Air flew U.S. arms shipments to Israel for shipment to Iran later, at the request of the National Security Council, but did not transport the weapons out of Israel.