The only air piracy case in America which remains unsolved by FBI is the D.B. Cooper hijacking case which took place on 24th November, 1971. Northwest Airlines Flight 305 was being hijacked by a single man who threatened about carrying a bomb with him and successfully extorted $200,000 ransom money. What makes this case a mysterious one was the disappearance of the hijacker after he jumped from the bowing 727 into midair, not to be seen again. Here are 20 Facts to know the D.B. Cooper hijacking case and who was D.B. Cooper.
(1) The hijacker had identified himself as Dan Cooper, which got publicized as D.B. Cooper owing to a media miscommunication.
(2) The hijacker had boarded the Flight 305 from Portland, Oregon which was bound for Seattle, Washington. He had got a one way ticket from Portland counter of North West Airlines under the name of Dan Cooper.
(3) He was a man in mid 40’s and had a fair height of about 1.78m to 1.83m. He was wearing a neat pressed white collared shirt with a black suit and appeared like a business executive to the eyewitnesses.
(4) After the plane took off, Cooper sent a slip to one of the attendants informing her that he was carrying a bomb in his attaché case and demanded $200,000 in ‘negotiable American currency’. He had also asked for four parachutes along with the ransom.
(5) As per the statements of the eyewitnesses, Cooper was very polite and courteous while he spoke to the crew. He did not put up the common rugged image of hijackers. The crew described him as a calm, thoughtful and rather nice individual.
(6) The flight attendant felt that the hijacker was pretty aware about the local area as he identified Tacoma from the air and commented “Looks like Tacoma down there”.
(7) Looking at his knowledge about the aircraft and the fact that he had turned down instructions about using the parachutes, many thought that the mysterious hijacker could be an air force veteran as well.
(8) The plane circled above Seattle airport for about two hours while the FBI agents arranged for $20 bills worth $200,000 and pictured each bill separately.
(9) After he received the money in Seattle, the hijacker let the passengers and some of the crew members leave the aircraft. However, he held back the pilot, the co-pilot, flight engineer and one of the flight attendants.
(10) He instructed Pilot William Scott to fly to New Mexico with just four crew members onboard. The flight re-took off from Seattle at 7:40 PM.
(11) The mysterious hijacker demanded that the exit door at the rear of the aircraft be left open with its staircase extended. Eventually he took a couple of parachutes and jumped into the air at around 8:13 PM.
(12) All that the hijacker left behind was two parachutes, his black tie with the mother pearl tie pin on it and loads of mystery about him which kept baffling the world for years to come.
(13) After the incidence of hijacking, an extensive search was conducted by FBI and other state agencies looking for the strange hijacker who had jumped somewhere above Lake Merwin near Ariel, Washington.
(14) Even though the different law enforcement agencies combed all the possible areas where the D.B. Cooper could have landed, they could not find any trace of him. It was then believed that he might have died mid air or due to a crash into the woods.
(15) There were many probable suspects (including an Oregon man with the name D.B. Cooper) who were interrogated by the FBI, but nothing concrete could be found against any of the potential suspects.
(16) What was more intriguing about this hijack was that the marked bills were never used by the hijacker anywhere. The FBI had distributed the serial numbers of the dollar bills to every possible institution that deals with cash transaction, it was published for the general mass and rewards were declared, but all in vain. Just like the man who took it, the money was also never found.
(17) Seven years after the incidence, in 1978 a deer hunter found a placard somewhere near Castle Rock, Washington (which was very well in the flight path). The placard contained instructions of lowering the aft stairs of a Boeing 727. This was thought to have come from the cursed flight 305 which got hijacked in 1971.
(18) In February, 1980 Brian Ingram, a young boy found three bundles of the ransom cash buried inside the sand at Tena Bar, a place near the Columbia River, about 20 miles southwest of Ariel, Washington.
(19) The three packages contained 290 dollar bills, which was worth $5,800 only. Although almost a decade had passed, the rubber bands on the bundles were still intact, which gave the impression to the investigators that they were not exposed to the elements all this while.
(20) Although many speculations and theories have been developed by the FBI and other investigating agencies about the whereabouts of the mysterious hijacker, none of them has been able to help them catch the man. It appears that D.B. Cooper aka Dan Cooper simply vanished in thin air.