When the C-123 Provider was shot down over Nicaragua in 1986, it left behind a sister. You might remember that the sole survivor of the C-123, Eugene Hasenfus, was captured by the Sandinista Army and it was his testimony that helped to shed light on what would only later be known as the Iran-Contra Affair, the bizarre arms sales that the Reagan Administration set up with Iran to win the release of some U.S. hostages being held in Lebanon and to raise money to fund the country-revolutionary Nicaraguan guerrilla fighters.
The plane’s sister was the second of two purchased by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and was, after the successful Sandinista strike, abandoned at the International Airport in San Jose. Purchased in 2000 by the proprietors of the El Avion Restaurant and Bar for $3,000, the plane was disassembled and shipped in pieces to where it currently stands. Because the fuselage was too wide for the Chiquita Banana railroad bridges that are placed around Costa Rica, it had to be sent on an ocean ferry.
The retired sister plane will never go through the same situation that the first one went through as it has been converted into a restaurant, bar, and coffee shop.
- Costa Verde: Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica: http://www.costaverde.com/avion01.htm
- TravelPod: 'El Avion' Bar/Restaurant: http://www.travelpod.com/travel-photo/matt.s.wise/1/1232244000/dscf2156.jpg/tpod.html
- The History of El Avion: http://www.elavion.net/