24 November 1972: the mysterious “DB Cooper” hijacking

Today in 1972, a man calling himself Dan Cooper parachuted from a hijacked Northwest Airlines Boeing 727 with $200,000 in cash. He has never been found.

On the day before America's Thanksgiving holiday in 1972, a man dressed in a suit and tie, and calling himself Dan Cooper, boarded Northwest Airlines' flight 305 from Portland to Seattle. Soon after take-off, he handed a note to one of the flight attendants, asked her to sit down next to him, and showed her the bomb in his suitcase. Cooper was hijacking the plane. He demanded $200,000 in cash, four parachutes and a full tank of fuel for the plane when it landed in Seattle. 

Once on the ground and the cash had been handed over, Cooper allowed the passengers off. Then, with the pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer and one cabin attendant aboard, ordered the plane to head for Mexico. He insisted the plane fly low, slow, and unpressurised.

Once the plane was airborne, he locked everybody in the cockpit, donned one of the parachutes, and lowered the rear stairs. Then, at 10,000 feet he jumped into the night, somewhere over the Cascade mountains. He was never seen again. Many believe he didn't survive the jump. But no parachute or body has ever been found.

In 1978, a card with instructions for opening the rear stairs of a Boeing 727 was found by a deer hunter in the woods under the plane's flightpath. And in 1980, $5,800 of the ransom money was found on the banks of the Columbia river. But nothing of the man who called himself Dan Cooper, and who the media for some reason called DB Cooper, was ever heard again. Despite over 1,000 suspects being investigated, his true identity has never been known. The FBI's case is still open.

Recommended

1 April 1999: The minimum wage is introduced in Britain
This day in history

1 April 1999: The minimum wage is introduced in Britain

On this day in 1999, the national minimum wage was introduced in Britain, bringing an instant pay rise to 1.9 million low-paid workers.
1 Apr 2021
27 February 1900: The launch of the Labour Party
This day in history

27 February 1900: The launch of the Labour Party

Responding to the need for a single political party to represent the trade unions, the Labour Party was formed on this day in 1900.
27 Feb 2021
24 February 1981: Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer announce their engagement
This day in history

24 February 1981: Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer announce their engagement

On this day in 1981, Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer made their engagement official in front of the world's press at Buckingham Palace.
24 Feb 2021
24 February 1809: Drury Lane theatre burns down
This day in history

24 February 1809: Drury Lane theatre burns down

On this day in 1809, celebrated playwright Richard Sheridan was effectively ruined when the Drury Lane theatre went up in smoke.
24 Feb 2021

Most Popular

Central banks are rushing to build digital currencies. What are they, and what do they mean for you?
Bitcoin

Central banks are rushing to build digital currencies. What are they, and what do they mean for you?

As bitcoin continues to soar in value, many of the world’s central banks are looking to emulate it by issuing their own digital currencies. But centra…
8 Apr 2021
House prices: from boom to even bigger boom
House prices

House prices: from boom to even bigger boom

UK house prices have risen to new to record highs, says Nicole Garcia Merida. Demand continues to outpace supply, but continued low interest rates, th…
9 Apr 2021
Nuclear power might never be popular – but now looks a good time to invest
Commodities

Nuclear power might never be popular – but now looks a good time to invest

Nuclear power gets a very bad press, but it is the ultimate renewable energy source. Interest in it is perking up again, says John Stepek. Which means…
9 Apr 2021