Today in History: October 5

French high wire artist Philippe Petit walks across a tightrope that is 45 feet out over the Niagara River. The Horseshoe Falls are seen in the background and a 'Maid of the Mist' tour boat is seen below. Oct. 5, 1986. (AP Photo/James P. McCoy)
French high wire artist Philippe Petit walks across a tightrope that is 45 feet out over the Niagara River. The Horseshoe Falls are seen in the background and a 'Maid of the Mist' tour boat is seen below. Oct. 5, 1986. (AP Photo/James P. McCoy)

Today in History

Today is Wednesday, Oct. 5, the 279th day of 2016. There are 87 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Oct. 5, 1986, in an incident that helped expose the Iran-Contra affair, a plane secretly ferrying supplies to Nicaraguan Contra rebels was shot down over southern Nicaragua by Sandinista forces. One of the plane’s occupants, Eugene Hasenfus, parachuted to safety while three other men were killed. Hasenfus was captured, tried and convicted in Nicaragua, but then was pardoned and allowed to return to the United States.

On this date:

In 1829, the 21st president of the United States, Chester Alan Arthur, was born in North Fairfield, Vermont.

In 1931, Clyde Pangborn and Hugh Herndon completed the first non-stop flight across the Pacific Ocean, arriving in Washington state some 41 hours after leaving Japan.

In 1941, former Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, the first Jewish member of the nation’s highest court, died in Washington at age 84.

In 1947, President Harry S. Truman delivered the first televised White House address as he spoke on the world food crisis.

In 1953, Earl Warren was sworn in as the 14th chief justice of the United States, succeeding Fred M. Vinson.

In 1969, the British TV comedy program “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” made its debut on BBC 1.

In 1970, British trade commissioner James Richard Cross was kidnapped in Canada by militant Quebec separatists; he was released the following December.

In 1974, the Irish Republican Army bombed two pubs in Guildford, Surrey, England, resulting in five deaths and dozens of injuries. (Four men who became known as the Guildford Four were convicted of the bombings, but were ultimately vindicated.)

In 1984, the space shuttle Challenger blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center on an 8-day mission; the crew included Kathryn D. Sullivan, who became the first American woman to walk in space, and Marc Garneau, the first Canadian astronaut.

In 1988, Democrat Lloyd Bentsen lambasted Republican Dan Quayle during their vice-presidential debate, telling Quayle, “Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”

In 1990, a jury in Cincinnati acquitted an art gallery and its director of obscenity charges stemming from an exhibit of sexually graphic photographs by the late Robert Mapplethorpe.

In 1999, two packed commuter trains collided near London’s Paddington Station, killing 31 people.

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