About half a century ago, a man named D.B. Cooper hijacked a flight from Portland to Seattle while threatening to explode a bomb fixed inside his suitcase if his demands weren't met. The man demanded $200,000 in twenty-dollar bills (about $1.2 million in today's world) and four parachutes in return for everyone's safety.
Upon receiving the money and the parachutes, he released all the passengers except the flight crew, who he ordered to refuel the aircraft for another flight to Mexico. En route, he parachuted from the plane with all the cash somewhere through Reno. The man was never seen again.
Thus began the mystery of D.B. Cooper, becoming one of the longest-running unsolved crimes in FBI history. His bold move immediately captured the attention of everyone, though no one knows to this day whom D.B. Cooper was or what became of him.
What was his real identity? Did he make it out alive? What did he do with the money? The answers are still not found, but the unresolved mystery made Cooper one of the coolest and boldest legends in the history of crime.
The FBI closed the case in 2016 after 45 years of an extensive yet vain search. But throughout the years to this day, Cooper's hijacking and escape remain an obsession, as hundreds of documentaries, T.V. shows, series, films, and even novels are dedicated to the bold and enigmatic skyjacker.
No doubt, the guy had spun the whole FBI around his fingers back in the 70s. People still obsess with D.B. Cooper, while merch like D.B. COOPER WANTED T SHIRT honors the legendary hero.
Interesting, right? Let's dive deeper into the badass hero who was never found and explore the never-ending media culture he impacted!
More on The Unresolved Mystery of D.B. Cooper
It was the eve of Thanksgiving, and passengers were heading towards the Northwest Orient Airlines at Portland International Airport. A middle-aged man named D.B Cooper with a black attaché case joined them and sat in the last seat on the aircraft.
He ordered bourbon and 7-Up to pass the time, and once the flight departed, he handed a note to the hostess. The note said, "MISS - I have a bomb in my briefcase and want you to sit by me." Cooper also opened his briefcase to show the hostess the bomb and made her write his demands.
The hostess rushed towards the cockpit and showed the captain Cooper's demands. He demanded $200,000 in a knapsack by 5:00 pm, two front parachutes, and two back parachutes.
When the flight landed, Cooper let the passengers leave once he got the money and ordered the crew to take another flight to Mexico. He also demanded that the landing gear be deployed in the takeoff position, which he later jumped from the aircraft midway through Reno.
Police and the FBI immediately searched for him, but nothing was found. They recovered 66 unidentified latent fingerprints, Cooper's black tie, a tie clip, and two of the four parachutes he had demanded.
The searching team also questioned many suspects but found no information about Cooper. On top of that, no one saw anyone leaving the airline or found a parachute open, whether visually or on the radar.
The mystery remains unsolved till today, and the only progress so far was made in 1980, when an eight-year-old kid Brian Ingram found three packets of the ransom cash on the bank of the Columbia River. $5,800 was found in the same way they were handed to Cooper, bundled in rubber bands and arranged in the same order.
However, the discovery led to nothing but some theories about Cooper, which were never proven with evidence. In the end, the FBI closed the case in 2016, saying they needed to pay attention to other complex cases.
How Cooper Changed the Media Culture!
The bold act of Cooper changed FBI history, and since then, many movies and T.V. shows have been created for the unknown legend. No one knows anything about where Cooper went or what he did with the money, but the more days pass the more curiosity increases.
- Leonard Nimoy's 1979 investigational series In Search Of… is one the oldest yet still the most exciting documentary series about all things supernatural and unexplained about Cooper.
- The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper was released in 1981 and became one of the most interesting films about the man who was never seen again.
- Ha-Ha-Ha by D.B. Cooper still confuses readers, questioning if Cooper really published a book. However, the novel was published in 1983 by Greg Ellingson, and the graphic novel was named under D.B. Cooper to spook everyone.
- The Mystery of D.B. Cooper (2020) is an in-depth documentary created by HBO Max which sheds light on all the facts and myths surrounding Cooper.
- Prison Break is a drama series aired by Fox in 2005, containing five seasons and showcasing D.B. Cooper as one of the prisoners.
- Skyjack: The Hunt for D. B. Cooper is a book by Geoffrey Gray published in 2010 and highlights the modern legend dramatically.
And the list goes on… D.B. Cooper is still a mastermind planner and a bold artist to this day. His brashness and bold approach to life is what inspired us to make our first spotlight on the infamous figure.
Netflix also released D.B. Cooper: Where Are You? in July 2022, featuring the true crime story about investigations surrounding the only unsolved hijacking in U.S. history if you'd like a deep look. This isn't an add but you should check it out if you found this interesting.
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