Thanksgiving week 1971, a man calling himself, Dan Cooper boarded a plane in Portland, Washington bound for Seattle, Washington. When in the air, Cooper opened the briefcase he had carried on showing a flight attendant a bomb he said he made. He demanded $200,000 in cash, and four parachutes. Flight 305 landed in Seattle. Cooper released all the passengers and the plane took off again. This time carrying Cooper a flight attendant and three pilots. Cooper demanded to be flown to Mexico. Sometime during the flight, he jumped out of the plane using the plane’s aft stairs. No one ever heard from him again.
I’ve always been fascinated by the story of D.B. Cooper. Always wondered whether he truly survived his dive into fame. I want to believe he did. Just like when there is a prison escape anywhere, a part of each of us hopes the fugitive will not be caught. And don’t tell me you don’t root for that. We all do.
Skyjack is written in such a way that you’re immediately sucked into the narrative. It’s the first book I’ve read about the Copper story. Told in two times, the present day, when the author is investigating the crime and when the hijacking actually took place in 1971, Geoffrey Rush examines several possible suspects. And this is something else he does. I think it works well with the story. Rush details each suspect’s life leading up to the crime and why he has chosen to follow these suspects in the book. I gotta say that each person Rush discusses has the ability to have pulled off the daring crime of hijacking Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 305. Because the case has never been officially closed we know there will be no resolution to the book. That fact doesn’t make Skyjack any less enjoyable any less exciting. I wondered how Rush would close out the book and I kind of like what he did.
I’m still no closer to saying definitively who D.B. Cooper was and whether he survived the dive off the aft stairs of Flight 305 , but I now have more information to consider. I DO believe he survived the jump. Where he went after, is the question. Just like other famous disappearances such as Amelia Earhart we may never know, and that’s part of the excitement, part of their story.
If you’re interested in know the backstory of the suspects in the D.B. Cooper story, this is definitely a book to start with. I recommend it.
Until next time…
Turn the page.