SEATTLE, WASHINGTON — It’s almost 45 years since a hijacker known by the pseudonym “D.B. Cooper” jumped out of plane above America’s Pacific Northwest clutching a $200,000 cash ransom.
More than four decades later, the crime has never been solved and the FBI stopped actively investigating the case in July.
The legend of D.B. Cooper began at the Northwest Orient Airlines flight counter at Portland International Airport on Nov. 24, 1971, when a man identifying himself as “Dan Cooper” paid cash for a one-way ticket on Flight 305 to Seattle, a mere 30-minute journey.
On board, Cooper showed a flight attendant an explosive device in his briefcase and demanded $200,000 in cash, four parachutes, and a fuel truck on standby at the airport in Seattle.
The plane landed at Seattle-Tacoma Airport, where a bag filled with cash and parachutes was delivered, and Cooper released all 36 passengers, along with two flight attendants.
The plane took off again, bound for Mexico City, scheduled to stop to refuel in Reno, Nevada.
As Cooper sat alone in the cabin, crew members in the cockpit noticed a sudden upward tilt in the plane’s tail section, which required trimming to get the aircraft back to its flight level. Investigators believe this could be the moment D.B. Cooper made his exit by leaping into the freezing cold air, through the clouds, and to an unknown fate.
In all the years that have followed, only two pieces of hard evidence have ever been found. In 1978, a hunter found the fragment of a placard for lowering the back stairs of a Boeing 727 along the flight path of the plane.
Two years later, about 20 miles southwest of Ariel, Washington a boy discovered $5,800 in damaged cash from Cooper’s haul.
The FBI has investigated more than a thousand suspects in the case, but has never been able to identify D.B. Cooper. The bureau officially ended active investigation of the case in July, citing a lack of new information.
More than $194,000, the equivalent of more than a million dollars today, has never been recovered.
The FBI suspects that D.B. Cooper didn’t survive the jump, but their guess about what really happened is as good as yours or mine.
Please watch: "Crying dog breaks the internet’s heart — but this sad dog story has a happy ending"