November 7, 2007, - 11:01 am
By Debbie Schlussel
Remember D. B. Cooper? 36 years ago (in 1971), the man surrounded by legend and myth (and even movies) hijacked a plane in the Northwest United States, demanded and got ransom money and parachutes, and jumped off the back of the airliner with two parachutes, somewhere over Washington State. He was never found.
Many experts believe he’s dead, that he died while parachuting into a river near the mountains. Some of ransom money washed up from the river. Others have romanticized what happened to him, that he lived the good life. After years of investigating and not finding out much, the FBI has now released classified documents and evidence in the case hoping for the public’s help in leads regarding what happened to Cooper. One man believes Cooper was his brother and is the subject of a New York Magazine article:
That night changed aviation history. It started in Portland, Oregon, when a man walked up to the flight counter of Northwest Orient Airlines. He was wearing a dark raincoat, dark suit with skinny black tie, and carrying an attach?© case. He had perky ears, thin lips, a wide forehead, receding hair. He gave his name, Dan Cooper, and asked for a one-way ticket to Seattle, Flight 305. The ride was a 30-minute puddle jump. He sat in the last row of the plane, 18-C, lit a cigarette, and ordered a bourbon and soda. The plane took off and he passed the stewardess a note. . . .
Florence Schaffner was 23, cute, perky, the sexy stewardess. Working on planes, she‚Äôd been approached by so many men that she’d taken to wearing a wig onboard to disguise herself. She dropped the man’s note in a purse, thinking, Just another guy hitting on me. But the man was insistent. “Miss. You’d better look at that note. I have a bomb.” She looked at the man’s eyes. She saw that he was serious.
She read the note. It was printed in felt pen, all capital letters, elegantly formed. “I have a bomb in my briefcase. I want you to sit beside me,” it read. She did as he requested, then asked to see the bomb. She saw a tangle of wires, a battery, and six red sticks. Then he dictated some instructions: “I want $200,000 by 5:00 p.m. In cash. Put in a knapsack. I want two back parachutes and two front parachutes. When we land, I want a fuel truck ready to refuel. No funny stuff or I’ll do the job.” He let her get up to take them to the captain. When she got back, the man was wearing dark sunglasses.
With the release of the new evidence and the New York Mag article, there’s a new wave of D.B. Cooper mythology, nostalgia, and hysteria sweeping America’s Mainstream Media. So, what do you think happened to D.B. Cooper? I go with the experts. He’s probably long dead.
Watch the video from Seattle’s KING5.
Tags: America, Captain, Dan Cooper, Debbie Schlussel Remember, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Florence Schaffner, Mississippi, New York Magazine, Northwest Orient Airlines, Oregon, Portland, Seattle, sexy stewardess, stewardess, USD