Today’s conspiracy article will not be an actual conspiracy theory because it is a mysterious event that, because it has not been solved yet, has been the basis of a lot of funny theories, some more realistic than others. Today I’m going to talk about D. B. Cooper, who hijacked Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 305 in 1971 and was never identified nor arrested.
It was November 21st of 1971 in Portland. A man with a black suitcase bought a ticket to Seattle-Tacoma under the name Dan Cooper. Just after take-off, this man handed a note to the flight assistant which she ignored, thinking it was some kind of flirt move. Aware of this, Cooper whispered to the assistant: “Miss, you’d better look at that note. I have a bomb.” In the note, Cooper instructed the assistant to sit by his side where she noticed four cylinders attached with wires, which she assumed to be the bomb.
The hijacker demanded 200 thousand US dollars to be handed to him once the plane landed and refueled. After receiving the money, he would have released the passengers, then gotten four parachutes and let the plane take off again.
Luckily for everyone, the president of the airline, Donald Nyrop, accepted these demands and instructed the flight crew to cooperate with the hijacker. Once retrieved his demands, Cooper released the passengers and gently asked the other flight assistants if they preferred to leave the aircraft instead of staying. They accepted and left the aircraft (a Boeing 727) with no interference from Cooper’s side.
The flight took off with a detailed flight plan made by the hijacker: the cabin unpressurized, the gear and flaps deployed, and the minimum possible speed. He also demanded the first assistant, who stayed on the plane, remain seated by his side. Later she would declare that he was familiar with the terrain, seemed to be calm, and behaved nicely with her, not being cruel or nasty in any way. After some time, Cooper asked the assistant to return to the cockpit and lock the door behind her. Later, the emergency lights turned on as he opened the backstairs on the tail of the plane, with the money strapped around his wrists. Nobody saw him again.
After landing, the FBI took control of the plane and declared its safety. Several patrols were deployed but not a single trace from him was found in the area he supposedly jumped off the plane until, in 1980, a brief part of the money was found in the Columbia River. No other information was retrieved.
After more than 50 years, this event remains the only unsolved hijacking in aviation history and thousands of theories have been constructed by amateurs, media reporters, and fanatics, mainly from the USA, trying to clear the fate of this hijacker that could not be identified, some of them even guessing he ended up dying in the free fall.
But who knows, maybe he is now living his last days on a Caribbean Island, maybe even writing a book about this experience. What is sure is that I would love to read that book.