“I will have a bourbon and soda please.” A middle aged man says. The flight attendant took his drink order, just like she would on any other day. But November 24th 1971 would prove not to be any other day.
This man purchased a one-way ticket to board Northwest Orient Airlines flight 305 to North Seattle. Using cash, he gave the name Dan Cooper. Due to a miscommunication he was later known as DB Cooper. He boarded the plane carrying a black attaché case, dressed nicely in a black raincoat, neatly pressed dark suit with a clip on tie and mother of pearl tie clip.
Not long after takeoff, Cooper handed a note to the flight attendant, Florence Schaffner. Assuming it was just another love note form a lonely business man, she pocketed the note. Copper leaned forward and said “Miss, you’d better look at that note. I have a bomb.” The letter, later recovered by cooper stated”
“I HAVE A BOMB IN MY BRIEFCASE. I WILL USE IT IF NECESSARY. I WANT YOU TO SIT NEXT TO ME. YOU ARE BEING HIJACKED.”
He then requested Florence have a seat next to him. He showed her the contents of the briefcase and requested $200,000 in negotiable American currency, 4 parachutes and a fuel truck standing by in Seattle to refuel the aircraft. When Florence returned from giving the pilots the message, Cooper was wearing dark sunglasses.
The pilot informed air traffic control and then reported to his passengers the flight would be delayed due to a “minor mechanical difficulty”. The plane circled Puget Sound for 2 hours while the Seattle police and FBI gathered the parachutes and ransom money. Once he was informed his demands were being met, Cooper paid his bar tab and the aircraft landed to release its 36 passengers and 2 flight attendants, including Florence. He went over his flight plan with the remaining crew while the plane was refueled; head southwest to Mexico City at minimum speed. It was established they would need to refuel again in Reno in order to make it to the location with the flight plan agreed upon.
After takeoff, one of the remaining flight attendants observed Cooper tying something around his waist. Not long after, a warning light flashed in the cockpit, indicating that the back air stairs apparatus had been activated. The crew soon noticed a change of air pressure, indicating that the aft door was open. Approximately 2 hours later, the air stairs was still reported open when the plane finally landed at the Reno airport. An arm searched confirmed DB Cooper was no longer on the plane. It was determined Cooper had parachuted out of the plane somewhere over the lower Cascade mountains in southwest Washington.
The investigation began, and continues. 66 fingerprints, Coopers tie and two of the four parachutes, with their lines cut, were submitted into evidence. Very little evidence has been located and linked to Cooper from 1978-2017.
1978 - A poster with printed instructions for lowering the air stairs on a 727 was found by a hunter near a hunting lodge about 13 miles west of Castle Rock, Washington. Within the flights path.
1980 - An eight year old boy uncovered three packets of the ransom cash as he raked the riverbank to make a camp fire in beachfront town Tina Bar, downstream from Vancouver, Washington. Two bags of 100 twenty dollar bills and a third bag with 90.
2017- A group if volunteer investigators located a decades old parachute strap in the Pacific Northwest. Which was later followed by a piece of foam believed to be part of coopers backpack.
Years later, the main suspect in this hijacking is said to be Vietnam War Pilot and black ops CIA agent Robert W. Rackstraw. Newer evidence points to the FBI impeding the investigation because of his government ties. This evidence is reported to be obtained from secret coding in five different notes reported to have been written by “Cooper”. One of which he wrote “IF CATCH I AM CIA…RWR.” Essentially asking for leniency if he was ever caught.
The FBI stated Copper most likely did not survive the jump. No body has been discovered and despite a massive manhunt, Cooper has never been discovered. The case was closed by the FBI in 2016.