He wore mirrored sunglasses. Aviators. With a black suit, a white shirt, a clip-on tie and loafers.
It was the day before Thanksgiving in 1971. The mystery man approached a ticket agent at Portland International Airport and paid cash for a one-way ticket to Seattle, signing his name Dan Cooper.
Once he was on the plane, he took the middle seat in the last row. It was a little after three o’clock, not quite happy hour, but Cooper ordered a drink from the stewardess, a bourbon and soda, while he was waiting for the flight to take off. He took out a cigarette, and began to smoke. This was the 1970’s afterall.
Then, just minutes later, he handed a note to the stewardess, who’d been seated just behind him in the crew quarters. She thought he was trying to flirt with her.
But, when she opened the paper she was shocked to read his demands. He said he had a bomb in his briefcase and that he wanted her to sit next to him. Stunned, the stewardess did as he was told.
Cooper opened a cheap attache case. Inside, she could see several red colored sticks and a mass of wires that just could have been a home-made bomb.
Then, she was taking a note to the captain. Cooper was demanding four parachutes and $200,000. He indicated he would only allow the plane to land and the passengers to leave safely once they had the money and the parachutes waiting on the tarmac.
The plane circled over Seatac airport while the FBI contacted a local bank and a local parachuting school. Once they had the items ready, the plane was cleared for landing.
Cooper allowed all of the passengers to get off, but kept several crew members back and demanded they set a course for Mexico City.
He told the crew to stay in the cockpit and not to come out, leaving Cooper alone in the main cabin.
It was a long flight. They would have to stop in Reno to refuel. And when they did, they discovered Cooper and the cash had vanished.
That was the last anyone saw of the only American hijacker who got away.
After decades of investigations, considering more than 800 suspects, the question remains: What happened to D.B. Cooper?
Could new scientific techniques help them finally solve this mystery?
A team of Citizens Sleuths is now on the case, getting a first-hand look at the F.B.I.’s cache of evidence, debunking theories, and getting closer and closer to learning the truth…..