The Story of DB Cooper: 10,000 Feet Plane Hijacking

DB Cooper

Have you ever heard the crazy story of the man who jumped out of a plane with a bunch of money and was never seen again? It’s one of the biggest mysteries in American history!

Unsolved skyjacking! DB Cooper hijacked a plane, parachuted with cash & vanished. Explore the mystery, theories & why it remains a legend.

Who Was DB Cooper?

DB Cooper
DB Cooper

DB Cooper wasn’t his real name – it was just an alias he used. His true identity has been a huge mystery for over 50 years!

On November 24, 1971, a man carrying a black briefcase boarded a flight from Portland to Seattle. He was wearing a neat suit and tie and had a friendly, businesslike manner. To the other passengers, he looked like an ordinary businessman.

Little did they know this smart-dressed man was about to pull off one of the most daring and mind-boggling crimes ever!

The Hijacking Begins

As the plane was cruising at around 10,000 feet, the man leaned over and calmly handed the flight attendant a note. It said he had a bomb in his briefcase and demanded $200,000 in cash and four parachutes!

The flight attendant thought it was a joke at first. But the man opened his attaché case to reveal a load of red cylinders and batteries. He meant business!

Landing for the Ransom

The pilot radioed ahead and when the plane landed in Seattle, the FBI quickly got a bag containing $200,000 in $20 bills and four parachutes and brought them aboard.

After releasing the 36 passengers, the daring hijacker kept the crew onboard as hostages. He had the pilot take off again and head for Mexico, flying low and slow.

As the plane headed south, the tense crew nervously did what the hijacker told them while he sat studying a bundle of colored maps spread out beside him.

The Jump into the Night

At around 8 pm, somewhere over the rugged wilderness of southwest Washington state, the hijacker did something incredible. He walked to the back of the airplane, tied the cash bundle to his body, put on two of the parachutes, and jumped out through the open rear stairs!

Just like that, into the inky darkness and driving rain, this mysterious man vanished into the night with $200,000 in cash strapped to his body. It was an unbelievable, death-defying leap that left everyone aboard the plane in stunned disbelief.

Search and Rescue

When the plane landed safely, a massive search effort swung into action across the remote mountain forests where DB Cooper was thought to have jumped.

Hundreds of soldiers, police, and volunteers scoured the terrain on foot and from the air for weeks but incredibly, not a single piece of evidence was ever found – no money, no parachute, nobody. It was like he had just vanished into thin air!

To this day, no one knows what became of DB Cooper after that fateful jump. Did he die somewhere in the harsh wilderness? Did he miraculously survive and make it to safety with the cash? It’s one of the biggest mysteries of the 20th century!

Who Was the Real DB Cooper?

Since the hijacking, the FBI has investigated thousands of potential suspects and followed up countless leads. But the true identity of DB Cooper remains unknown.

Some of the main theories include:

  • Military Man – His know-how with parachuting and aircraft made some think he was a military veteran or Air Force pilot. But no link was ever proven.
  • Unmatchable DNA – In 1980, the FBI found a tiny scrap of DNA evidence from a tie the hijacker was thought to have left on the plane. But it didn’t match any of the suspects.
  • Witness Recall – Two teenage hikers came forward claiming to have encountered the parachuted hijacker near the suspected jump zone in 1971. But their reliability has been questioned.
  • Duane Weber – A popular suspect was a man named Duane Weber, who claimed to be DB Cooper at one point before going into hiding. But he was never definitively confirmed as the hijacker.
  • Death Claim – In 2011, a con man named Bart Ingram claimed on his deathbed that he was the infamous DB Cooper. But his account contradicted many of the known facts.

With all these and many more theories out there, people continue to hunt for the real identity and fate of this audacious skyjacker.

Fascination with the Mystery

So why has the DB Cooper case become so legendary and captivated so many people for decades? A few key reasons:

  • The Perfect Getaway – Cooper’s bold jump into the night was the ultimate vanishing act – a criminal somehow escaping into thin air and avoiding justice. This tantalizing premise is hard to resist!
  • Money Mystery – Despite finding a few thousand dollars of Cooper’s ransom money in the 1980s, most of the $200,000 has never been recovered. This opens up endless speculation about where the rest could be.
  • Taunting Clues – Throughout the years, several people have come forward claiming to be Cooper or to know what happened. But most have proven unreliable. Did the real Cooper leave any real clues?
  • Unsolvable Case – After over 50 years and tens of thousands of investigative manhours, the FBI struggled to positively identify Cooper before finally closing the unexplained case in 2016. Many see the failure to solve it as an enticing challenge.
  • Romantic Figure – For many, the daring and mysterious DB Cooper has taken on a romantic, folk hero image of someone who bucked authority and got away with it. Some even celebrate the date of the hijacking each year!

The Enduring Mystery

While the known facts around DB Cooper’s skyjacking are relatively simple, the case has spun a web of questions that have never been fully answered:

  • What was DB Cooper’s real name and background?
  • Why did he pull off such an aeronautical heist?
  • How did he parachute away and where did he land?
  • Did he survive the jump at all or perish in the rugged wilderness?
  • Where is the rest of the $200,000 in ransom money?
  • Why did he escape justice so cleanly and leave such a lasting mystery?

These are just some of the many dangling questions keeping the DB Cooper case file open in the minds of its investigators and fans alike.

Legacy of the Daring Skyjacker

Whether DB Cooper was a brilliant criminal mastermind or just got incredibly lucky, his daring exploit and mysterious vanishing have rightly earned him a spot among the most iconic and puzzling capers in history.

Though many years have passed and the likelihood of finding Cooper or the truth seems increasingly unlikely, his case continues to live on through:

  • Endless theorizing and amateur investigation online
  • References and portrayals in movies, TV shows, songs, and other pop culture
  • Treasure hunters and hikers scour the Northwest woods looking for his loot
  • Anniversary celebrations and an official DB Cooper museum exhibit
  • The possibility of his identity and fate someday being uncovered

For now, though, DB Cooper’s vanishing into the night sky over Washington remains perhaps the greatest unsolved misadventure of the 20th century – a real-life mystery that has dazzled, confounded, and inspired generations since it happened.

So keep your eyes on the skies! Who knows, maybe someday this mysterious man who pulled off one of history’s most audacious capers may reappear from the shadows as unexpectedly as he vanished on that fateful November night.