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The Mystery of DB Cooper

On November 24, 1971, an unidentified man (going by the name Dan Cooper, but because of a miscommunication on a news broadcast, he has since been known as DB Cooper) hijacked a Boeing 727. The plane was flying from Portland, Oregon, to Seattle, Washington. The hijacker demanded $200,000 in ransom money (the equivalent of $1,278,000 in 2020), and he asked to be flown to Reno, Nevada. Before reaching their destination, he opened up the rear portion of the plane and parachuted to a location in southwestern Washington, after allowing the other passengers to disembark the plane.

What happened to him after parachuting from the plane is uncertain, and there are many theories as to what may have happened to him (and who he may have been). The only clue as to what may have happened to him that was found was in 1980; a small amount of the ransom money that had been given to him was found on the banks of the Columbia River. Most of the money was not (and still has not been) found, and what had been found was damaged from the elements.

For 45 years, the FBI maintained an active investigation, trying to find the hijacker. Despite putting together an extensive case file (putting together all manner of evidence) no definitive proof was ever found of who the hijacker may have been, or what may have happened to him.

This is the only crime of air piracy that remains unsolved in aviation history


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There have been many theories as to the hijacker’s identity (and what may have happened to him) over the years. The best guess made by the FBI as to what may have happened to him was that Cooper died during his escape attempt (they believed that because of the danger of what he did to escape, combined with the weather conditions made it impossible for him to have survived). But there are others who believe that Cooper did survive, and that he had airline experience (having possibly worked with an airline), because of the knowledge he seemed to have of the plane and the rules that the employees worked with.

If he did survive, it is suspicious that he did not spend any of the money that he demanded from the airline (and that he left any of it behind); the serial numbers on the bills were recorded to make it easier to track him later on.

The fact that he has never been found (whether living or dead) has made Cooper something of a folk hero, and his legend only seems to have grown over the years. It has gotten to the point where he has even entered the realm of fiction; in season one of the MCU show “Loki,” it was put forward that Cooper was actually Loki (and he hijacked the plane because he lost a bet with Thor).

Whoever he was, and whatever may have happened to him, the mystery that surrounds him (and the fact that people can speculate so much about both) likely have been what has kept his story so popular.

If you have a theory about who he was, and what may have happened to him, what are those theories?

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