Remember the case of D.B. Cooper? The man who hijacked a commercial plane in 1971 going from Portland, Oregon, to Seattle, Washington, and later parachuted out of it with the ransom money? Yeah, well that unsolved mystery went cold after never being able to find him. There was a full-blown manhunt, but the hijacker was never found, leaving us with one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in U.S history.
The “skyjacker” used the alias Dan Cooper, but with all the news coverage that ensued, a reporter misheard the name as D.B. Cooper. And that’s the name we all became familiar with. America became obsessed, and D.B. Cooper became something of a folk hero, inspiring a number of songs, books, and movies.
But this cold case just got hot again, with some new evidence about his true identity…
An Ordinary Man, An Extraordinary Flight
On November 24, 1971, a day before Thanksgiving, an ordinary man in his mid-40s and about 6 feet tall bought a $20 ticket (yes, plane tickets used to cost $20…) for Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 305. He said his name was Dan Cooper.
Soon after takeoff from Portland, he handed a note to one of the flight attendants. On that note, he wrote that he had a bomb in his briefcase. He then started to open the briefcase, which contained wires, red sticks, and a battery. Cooper’s note also had a demand: four parachutes and $200,000 in $20 bills (which would amount to about $1.2 million in today’s economy).