D.B. Cooper Part 1


Manage episode 271909709 series 89785
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On the afternoon of Thanksgiving eve, November 24, 1971, a smartly dressed man approached the flight counter for Northwest Orient Airlines at Portland International Airport and purchased a one-way ticket to Seattle. The name he gave was "Dan Cooper" as he paid cash to board Flight 305, a short 30-minute trip that would turn into one of the longest criminal manhunts in modern history. Once aboard, Cooper's requests to Flight Attendant Florence Schaffner were simple: a bourbon and soda, and a note to be delivered to the captain demanding $200,000 in cash and four parachutes. To add emphasis to his order, Cooper briefly showed Schaffner what appeared to be a bomb in the black attaché case he carried with him. Calm and polite throughout the ordeal, Cooper was now instructing the pilots to take him to Mexico City during the refueling stop in Seattle. However, it was never his intention to go that far. Cooper's additional demands were now that the Boeing 727 fly not higher than 10,000 feet, with the landing gear still deployed, the wing flaps lowered, the cabin depressurized, and at the lowest airspeed possible without stalling the aircraft. Around 8:13 p.m., the aft airstairs of the jet deployed, and Cooper would leap into a cold rainstorm of a western Washington night and popular culture forever. Due to a name mixup with an early suspect by a local news reporter, the public would also forever know "Dan Cooper" as "D. B. Cooper." The mystery of Cooper's true identity and fate, along with the whereabouts of most of the ransom money, would launch a 45-year investigation by the FBI. His piracy would become a legend and the only unsolved skyjacking case in the history of commercial aviation.
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