a picture of D.B. Cooper

a picture of D.B. Cooper

In all of history, there has only been one person to ever hijack a plane and completely get away with it without ever being arrested—or even found. D.B. Cooper.

D.B. Cooper

The night before Thanksgiving of 1971, a middle-aged man who was known as D.B. Cooper gave a note to a stewardess woman named Florence Schaffner on a plane heading from Portland, Oregon, to Seattle, Washington. At first, she believed that it was just his phone number, so she placed it in her pocket and had no intention of reading it. That is, until D.B. Cooper whispered to her, “Miss, you’d better look at that note. I have a bomb.”

Immediately, Florence obeyed him and sat down next to him as he instructed her to do. He opened his briefcase and showed her the bomb and asked for 200,000 dollars as ransom as well as four parachutes.

Florence then told the pilot of the plane, a man named William A. Scott. William then warned passengers that the plane would be delayed and told them that it was a mechanical issue. But what was going on was actually far, far worse. William circled the plane back to the airport, while the police in Seattle coordinated with the FBI to give D.B. Cooper what he had asked for.

Meeting Requirements

Eventually, the plane landed at the Seattle-Tacoma Airport and D.B was given the money and parachutes as he demanded. After he got what he wanted, he released all the passengers, as well as Florence and another flight attendant named Alice Hancock, and let them get off the plane. From there, the plane refueled and took off to Mexico, along with the pilot and the rest of the crew. Two fighter aircraft followed the plane as it started its journey without D.B. Cooper’s knowledge.

While the crew stayed in the cockpit, D.B. Cooper took the parachutes and leaped out of the plane in the middle of a thunderstorm, and was never seen again. Both fighters who were following the plane reported to investigators that they never saw him jump.

The FBI had plenty of evidence against D.B. Cooper, including his fingerprints, the tie he had left behind, cigarette butts, and two out of the four parachutes. They even acted out the flight again, which led to investigators believing that D.B. parachuted from the plane over the Lewis River in Washington State. Massive search efforts were mounted to try to find him, but they didn’t find D.B. Cooper or any of his equipment.

There were over 800 suspects, including a hijacker named Richard McCoy Junior, and Robert Rackstraw, who was once a pilot. Robert’s picture oddly looked like composite sketches made of D.B. Cooper, but no one was ever charged.

People were so desperate to find D.B. Cooper that the United States Attorney General named John N. Mitchell actually released the serial numbers from the money given to D.B. in 1972. Eight years after that, an eight-year-old boy in Washington actually found some of the money buried on the beach along the Columbia River.