Where's the DB Coopers money

Spectacular US criminal case : Airplane hijacker D.B. Cooper remains missing

Exactly 45 years have passed. Now the US Federal Police FBI has closed the investigation into one of the largest unsolved - and most mysterious - cases in its history. The search for a man who “D. B. Cooper “and escaped after a plane hijacking by parachuting out of a Boeing with the ransom, has now been ended without result.

On the afternoon of November 24, 1971, a man who called himself Dan Cooper had bought a ticket to Seattle at the Portland, Oregon airport and boarded the Northwest Orient short-haul flight 305. There he ordered a bourbon with soda and gave the stewardess Florence Schaffner a note after the start. On it he explained that he was carrying a bomb. The man, estimated to be in his mid-40s, opened his briefcase, in which there were cables and red poles. The flight attendant then had to deliver his request to the pilot: $ 200,000 in $ 20 bills and four parachutes.

After landing in Seattle, the 36 passengers were exchanged for the money and the parachutes. The kidnapper, wearing a light raincoat, dark suit, white shirt with a black tie and mother-of-pearl tie pin, held the two pilots, the flight engineer and a stewardess hostage. He had the three-engine Boeing 727 take off in the direction of Reno (Nevada), and the flight attendant also had to go into the cockpit and close its door. Shortly after 8 p.m. local time, he opened the flap with the retractable staircase that is characteristic of the aircraft model and presumably jumped out of the jet, which was only around 3,000 meters above sea level, over the southwest of Washington State. Before that he had taken off his tie, two parachutes - one of them open - remained on board.

It was one of the largest investigative proceedings in the FBI

What followed was one of the largest and most costly preliminary investigations in the history of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The kidnapper could not be identified from the fingerprints secured on board, or from a phantom image drawn from witnesses' statements. As it turned out, "Dan Cooper" was the name of the hero in a Belgian pilot comic.

Within five years, the FBI unsuccessfully examined more than 800 people. One of the main suspects was Richard Floyd McCoy, who in 1972 hijacked a United Airlines Boeing 727 with an unloaded pistol and a dummy hand grenade, extorted half a million dollars and also parachuted. The Boeing 727 was then equipped with a so-called Cooper switch, which prevented the tailgate from opening during the flight.

McCoy was caught two days later based on his fingerprints and later sentenced. After a prison break, he was killed in a police shootout in 1974. While two FBI agents later identified him in a book as being identical to "D.B. Cooper “, the investigative authority does not believe in a match, among other things because of different descriptions of people.

The FBI meanwhile does not rule out that “D.B. Cooper “was already killed in the parachute jump. During large-scale searches, however, no body could be found. It wasn't until 1980 that a boy discovered three bundles of $ 20 bills, some of which were already rotted, on a family outing on the banks of the Columbia River. According to the serial numbers, they were part of the ransom. Even new investigative approaches and investigation methods did not lead to a solution of the norjak (Northwest hijacking) case in the following decades. He remains the only airplane hijacking in the United States that has never been solved.

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