In November 1971, Dan Cooper, smartly dressed in a dark suit with a well pressed white shirt and black tie, sited on chair 18c on the flight Boeing 727 is believed to have ordered a soda and lit his cigarette before revelling the bom in his briefcase and threatened to blow up Northwest Orient airline flight 305 on route from Portland to Seattle.
Dan Cooper is not really his name. It’s the name he used to purchase the plane ticket but due to miscommunication, the media baptized him DB Cooper…and DB Cooper he has remained.
He alerted a member of the cabin crew on his intentions to hijack the plane and explained his demands 200 000 dollars, American currency, 4 parachutes 2 primary and 2 reserve and a fuel truck to stand in Seattle.
What followed is still unmatched in human history. As this man was never ever cought. Infact the case has never been solved.
So the pilot phoned in Cooper’s demands to Seattle which are dutifully followed by the authorities. Donald Nyrop, Northwest Orient president, authorised the payment and asked all the cabin crew to cooperate fully with Cooper.
At Seattle, on landing, a cabin crew goes for the money. So Cooper received 10,000 of 20 dollar unmarked bills but the FBI had made a Micro film of each one of them and the parachutes. He rejected the military parachutes in favour of civilians ones. On getting satisfied that all his demands were met, Two if this conditions couldn’t work out. So after some debate Cooper agrees that his destination should change to Reno,Nevada as this flight couldn’t go to Mexico under such conditions. Also the rear door couldn’t be left open and the stairs lowered but had to agree to have it closed as it was dangerous to take off with it lowered. Dan disagrees but concur. He would lower it down himself once they were in the air.
The flight takes off few hours later with the five on board. Two fighter jets followed the 727. One below and one above so that Cooper doesn’t see them.
Once on air, Cooper asked Tina to join the rest in the cockpit and remain there. At 8pm, 20 minutes after getting on air, a warning light on the control panel indicated that the steps had been lowered. Shortly the crew also noted that the pressure changed, suggesting the door was open. Then some wobbling at the back, forcing the pilots to adjust the plane’s balance. Two hours later the plane landed at Reno airport.
Surrounded by state troopers, and deputies and the FBI, the troop disembarked on search for Cooper but there was no sign of him.
What followed was a fierce manhunt. They went door to door searches. Such the flight,a replication of the plane where the FBI threw a 90kg to simulate Cooper’s jump and a very widespread Aerial search. The FBI actually thought Cooper didn’t survive the jump but after a few years they concluded that this was true as no inexperienced person would jump in the pitch-black night
, Cooper released all the passengers except for the pilot and co pilot, plane engineer and Flight attendant to stay.
If you haven’t guessed already, DB Cooper wanted to use the chutes to escape.
Tina Macrow, flight attendant described Dan as smartly dressed, calm and thoughtful even when negotiating his demands.
He asked the pilot to fly the flight slowly, at 10,000 feet from the ground without stalling, asked the ladder to stay on, fly towards Mexico and the cabin crew to remain unpressured.
The only evidence the FBI had was Cooper’s tie, 66 fingerprints and two parachutes that Cooper left behind.
Incidentally, he had included the dummy chute reserved in the bargain by mistake
In 1980, a boy found three packets of ransom cash in the Sandy beaches of Columbia River. The FBI confirmed that this indeed was some of Cooper’s money two Packers of 100 and one with 90. None of this money was ever found despite the serial numbers of this money remaining online.
This case was closed by the FBI in 2016 and no more theories on whether Cooper survived the jump or not have risen since.
The year Dan Cooper hijacked a plane was 1972 and ever since, 15 people have tried copying his method but all ended up being cought.