Facts About The Mysterious Disappearance Of D.B Cooper

By Rio Dennis 1 year ago

1. Used a bomb threat to hijack a flight

Image Source: Reddit
The strange case of D.B Cooper is one that remains unsolved to this day, and there is very limited information regarding the case as a whole. One clear piece of information however, is the fact that Cooper used a bomb threat to hijack a plane that was flying from Portland to Seattle.

2. The event occurred during the early 70's

Image Source: Reddit
The hijacking took place on November 24th 1971, when commercial flights were just starting to build in popularity worldwide. The security within airports, was a far cry from what you expect when you fly today. The luggage, especially hand luggage, specifications were much more relaxed as well.

3. The hijacker had a strong set of demands

Image Source: Reddit
Cooper had a well-devised plan for the hijacking, and this included a clear set of demands. These demands included $200,000 in cash and four parachutes. It is still unclear why he had these demands, but it was imperative that they were met to ensure the safety of the flight crew and passengers.

4. The plane was exited mid-flight

Image Source: Reddit
Another key element of this case, is the way in which Cooper escaped the aircraft. Cooper jumped mid-flight from the aircraft, as it was on the way to Mexico City. Again, it is still unclear why he decided to leave at this point in the aircraft's journey, and it made the subsequent investigation extremely difficult.

5. Disappeared quickly after the event

Image Source: Liveabout
Swiftly after existing the aircraft, Cooper seemed to vanish into thin air. There were no reports of a person, from people on the plane or ground, deploying a parachute and making it down safely. If he did escape without injury, he must have devised some form of transportation, to get him away from the area as quickly as possible.

6. The FBI spent years investigating the case

Image Source: Boston.com
The FBI were involved from the mention of a bomb threat aboard the aircraft, and opened an investigation (a.k.a Northwest Hijacking/NORJACK) as soon as Cooper exited the plane. Their investigation and search for Cooper carried on for decades (making it probably one of the longest running FBI cases ever).

7. The hijacker was never identified

Image Source: Newsweek
The hijacker was never identified, and was simply known as D.B Cooper. This inability to identify the hijacker, was due to the non-existent criminal profiling via DNA, as well as the relaxed approach to ID checks for commercial flights. The case was difficult enough to begin with, and this element made it much harder.

8. The FBI closed the case in 2016

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Despite their tireless efforts and exhaustion of time, energy and resources, the FBI's overall investigation was fruitless. Subsequently, the D.B Cooper case was closed in 2016. Too much time had passed, without any notable progress or leads, so it only made sense to close the case completely.

9. The hijacker paid $18.52 for a one-way ticket

Image Source: Reddit
To really show the contrast between modern flying, and the experience of flying in the 1970's, let's look at the price Cooper paid for his ticket. He paid a whole $18 and 52 cents for a one-way ticket, from Portland to Seattle via North-West Orient Airlines.

10. He drunk bourbon and soda/smoked whilst onboard

Image Source: Reddit
Another definite fact of the case is that Cooper drunk bourbon on soda while onboard, as well as smoking cigarettes. This just goes to show the jarring comparison of flying in the 1970's with modern flying. Although drinking is still allowed (on certain flights), smoking has been banned for at least 20 years.

11. Passed a note to a flight attendant claiming to have a bomb

Image Source: Reddit
Another clear aspect of this case, is the fact that Cooper alerted a flight attendant to the (potential) presence of a bomb via a note. It was also reported that he motioned to his hand luggage (a briefcase) that contained a range of red and blue wires seemingly connected to a device.

12. Retrieving the hijacker's demands took several hours

Image Source: Reddit
Due to the severity of the situation, and the extremity of Cooper's demands, it took the FBI and flight crew several hours to retrieve them. As the retrieval took such a long time, the flight had to circle the air multiple times (causing even more of a delay to the overall flight).

13. 36 passengers and 2 crew members disembarked half-way

Image Source: Reddit
Once the demands had been retrieved, the flight landed halfway through its journey, to allow 36 passengers and two crew members to disembark (in exchange for the $200,000 ransom). It was still unclear as to whether the threat of a bomb was deceitful or not, so it remained unsafe to try and arrest Cooper.

14. The plane had four crew members left

Image Source: Daily Mail
Following the departure of the aforementioned passengers and crew members, this left the plane with four crew members. The crew members consisted of two pilots, one flight engineer and one flight attendant. Again, it is still unclear as to why these crew members and any remaining passengers, weren't allowed to leave the aircraft.

15. The hijacker demanded precise flying specifications

Image Source: Reddit
Another strange element of this case, is the extremely specific flying instructions that Cooper gave the pilots. He demanded that the plane flew lower than 10,000 feet, and at a speed under 200 knots. This may have given the FBI some sort of clue as to Cooper's identity. Is it possible that he was, in some way, an expert in aviation?

16. The crew remained in the cockpit

Image Source: Reddit
Following his very specific flying demands, all remaining crew members were situated within the cockpit of the aircraft. With the crew out of sight and earshot, Cooper proceeded to lower the stairs at the back of the plane, and jumped out. It was reported that he exited the plane shortly after 8:00pm.

17. Plane continued all the way to Reno, Nevada

Image Source: Reddit
The aircraft continued onto Reno, Nevada following Cooper's departure. Rather than following its original flight path to Seattle, the aircraft had to land in Reno. This was partly due to the overall disruption that had been caused, and the waste of fuel, but it was necessary in order for the FBI to get the basis of an investigation underway.

18. Reporting mistake rendered the name D.B Cooper

Image Source: Reddit
Surprisingly, the name D.B Cooper was rendered following a miscommunication, which led to a reporting mistake. It was believed that the hijacker's actual name was Dan Cooper, but following the nationwide reporting, the name D.B Cooper entered the public lexicon.

19. Various sketches of the hijacker were created

Image Source: NBC News
As part of the FBI's investigation, a wide array of artist sketches were created in an attempt to further identify Cooper. The FBI used descriptions from both the passengers and crew members, so that the sketches would be as accurate as possible. These sketches were then shown in the news, so the public could be alerted about the investigation.

20. The FBI collected a range of evidence

Image Source: MarketWatch
Another key part of the FBI's investigation, was their collection of any and all possible evidence accessible to them. Within the evidence collected, were the cigarette butts left by Cooper, whilst he was aboard the flight. The FBI had to make use of any evidence they could collect, due to criminal DNA profiling not existing.

21. FBI agents conducted ground searches and interviews

Image Source: Reddit
Once the FBI had a better understanding of what had happened, they were able to conduct thorough ground searches and interviews. However, they found it increasingly difficult to hone in on one, specific area to focus on, due to the vague nature of knowledge surrounding Cooper's departure.

22. Over 800 suspects were highlighted within the first five years of the investigation

Image Source: Business Insider
During the first five years of the overall investigation, upward of 800 suspects came to the Bureau's attention. This is an astounding amount, when you consider the lack of ID evidence that was available for the FBI to use. The use of artist sketches was definitely the main cause for such an influx in suspects.

23. A theory suggests that Cooper didn't survive

Image Source: The Hollywood Reporter
Since the start and subsequent closure of the case, there have been many theories created and developed regarding the potential whereabouts of D.B Cooper. One of these theories suggest that Cooper didn't survive the jump from the plane at all, despite no presence of a body/any human remains.

24. Cooper left the plane during a storm

Image Source: Reddit
Yet another key element of this case, is the fact that Cooper departed the plane during a storm. This is completely feasible, as the plane was flying in the middle of November, and it was airborne during the evening. This aspect also provides some kind of backing for the theory mentioned previously.

25. A boy found $5,800 whilst camping in 1980

Image Source: Reddit
There was a slight progression in the case, when a young boy in 1980 came across $5,800 in cash, buried in the area he was camping. When this discovery was reported, it was found that the serial numbers on the notes, matched those of the ransom money that was handed to Cooper.

26. No bills from the ransom have been found in circulation

Image Source: Reddit
Despite the prior progression mentioned, there has since been no resurfacing of any other ransom notes, whether they were also hidden, or whether they were in general circulation. This lack of emerging evidence, was probably a contributing factor to the closing of the investigation.

27. A multitude of men were considered suspects

Image Source: Reddit
It's no surprise, that a plethora of men have been under suspicion of being D.B Cooper, when there have been upward of 800 suspects since the beginning of the investigation in 1970. These men have ranged in age, as the case progressed and the decades passed.

28. Some evidence has since gone missing

Image Source: New York Magazine
A strange and surprising aspect of this case is the element of missing evidence. The missing evidence in question is the cigarette butts retrieved from the aircraft, that Cooper had reportedly been smoking. No one is even sure how/when they disappeared, and where they might have been taken.

29. Civilians still pursue potential leads

Image Source: KTVL
With the mystery that shrouds this case, it's not surprising that many civilians have become intrigued by the disappearance, and possible whereabouts of D.B Cooper. This curious nature, has led to the development of theories and case studies based on what little evidence there is.

30. This case has inspired many creative projects

Image Source: IMDb
Another thing this case has inspired is the creation of movies, documentaries song lyrics and commentary videos. This just goes to show, that despite the official closure of the case, the public interest and curiosity will continue to add to the mysterious disappearance of D.B. Cooper.

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