D. B. Cooper

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D. B. Cooper is the name attributed to a man who hijacked a Boeing 727 aircraft in the United States on November 24, 1971, received $200,000[1] in ransom, and parachuted from the plane. The name he used to board the plane was Dan Cooper, but through a later press miscommunication, he became known as D.B. Cooper. Despite hundreds of leads through the years, no conclusive evidence has ever surfaced regarding Cooper's true identity or whereabouts, and the bulk of the money has never been recovered. Several theories offer competing explanations of what happened after his famed jump, but the F.B.I. believes that he did not survive.[2]

The nature of Cooper's escape and the uncertainty of his fate continue to intrigue people. The Cooper case (code-named "Norjak" by the F.B.I.)[3] is the only unsolved U.S. aircraft hijacking,[4] and one of the few such cases anywhere in the world, along with Malaysia Airlines Flight 653.

The Cooper case has baffled government and private investigators for decades, with countless leads turning into dead ends. As late as March 2008, the F.B.I. thought it might have had a breakthrough when children unearthed a parachute within the bounds of Cooper's probable jump site near the town of Amboy, Washington.[5] Experts later determined that it did not belong to the hijacker.

Despite the case's enduring lack of evidence, a few significant clues have arisen. In late 1978 a placard containing instructions on how to lower the aft stairs of a 727, later confirmed to be from the rear stairway of the plane from which Cooper jumped, was found just a few flying minutes north of Cooper's projected drop zone. In February 1980 on the banks of the Columbia River, eight-year-old Brian Ingram found $5,880 in decaying $20 bills, which proved to be part of the original ransom.[6]

In October 2007, the F.B.I. claimed that it had obtained a partial DNA profile of Cooper from the tie he left on the hijacked plane.[7] On December 31, 2007, the F.B.I. revived the case by publishing never-before-seen composite sketches and fact sheets online in an attempt to trigger memories that could possibly identify Cooper. In a press release, the F.B.I. reiterated that it does not believe Cooper survived the jump, but expressed an interest in ascertaining his identity.[7][8]


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