Seattle, WA

The man who successfully hijacked an American plane and vanished forever after collecting a heavy ransom


In the history of aviation, few hijackings have been as daring or as mysterious as the case of Dan Cooper. In 1971, Cooper hijacked a Boeing 727 flight from Portland to Seattle, demanding a $200,000 ransom and parachuting out of the plane with the money. What followed was one of the most extensive manhunts in American history, as law enforcement agencies scoured the Pacific Northwest for any trace of the elusive hijacker.

Cooper's hijacking took place on the evening of November 24, 1971. He boarded the plane under the name Dan Cooper, paying cash for his ticket and taking a seat in the rear of the plane. Shortly after takeoff, Cooper handed a note to a flight attendant, which read, "I have a bomb in my briefcase. I want you to sit beside me." Cooper then revealed a briefcase containing wires and red sticks, convincing the crew that he had a bomb.

Cooper demanded $200,000 in cash and four parachutes, which were delivered to the plane during a brief stopover in Seattle. After the ransom was delivered, Cooper instructed the plane to fly to Mexico City, while also ordering the crew to fly at low altitude and with the cabin lights turned off. However, over the rural areas of Washington state, Cooper made his move. He lowered the plane's rear staircase and jumped out into the night sky, taking the ransom money with him.

Despite an extensive search by law enforcement agencies, no trace of Cooper was ever found. His daring heist and subsequent disappearance made him a legend and spawned countless theories and speculations about his true identity and whereabouts.

Over the years, a number of people have claimed to be Dan Cooper, but none have been able to provide convincing evidence. The FBI officially closed the case in 2016, citing a lack of leads and evidence.

The story of Dan Cooper's hijacking has inspired books, movies, and documentaries, and remains one of the most intriguing unsolved mysteries in American history. Who was Dan Cooper? Did he survive his jump from the plane? Where did he go? These questions continue to fascinate and intrigue people around the world, making the legend of Dan Cooper an enduring part of aviation history.

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