The Perfect Aviation Crime


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Pictures from the FBI Wanted poster for D.B. Cooper

On the night before Thanksgiving, November 24, 1971, a passenger by the name of Dan Cooper boarded a plane in Portland, Oregon, bound for Seattle. Clad in a suit and raincoat, wearing dark glasses and carrying a briefcase, he sat silently in the back of the plane.

After calmly lighting a cigarette, he ordered a whiskey from the stewardess and then handed her a note. It read, “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 demanded $200,000 and four parachutes delivered to him in Seattle. When the plane landed, he released all the passengers, except for the pilot, co-pilot, and stewardess. Once the money was delivered in the middle of the brightly-lit tarmac, Cooper demanded the pilot take off for Mexico, flying at an altitude of 10,000 feet.

Shortly after takeoff, over the mountains northwest of Portland, the six-foot-tall Cooper strapped on a parachute and jumped. He was never heard from again. Did he survive? In 1980, roughly $6,000 was found of the money in bundles on a beach, but no signs of a body. The case remains open and is the only unsolved crime in US aviation history.
source

On July 12, 2016, the FBI announced it was closing its investigation, concluding that it was unlikely that any new information would lead to solving the 45-year-old mystery.

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