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Flight Attendant Who Was The Last Person To Ever See D. B. Cooper Details Her Experience Of The Events

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Flight Attendant Who Was The Last Person To Ever See D. B. Cooper Details Her Experience Of The Events

A flight attendant on D.B. Cooper's plane has spoken out about the events leading up to his disappearance.

On 24 November, 1971, a mysterious man who gave the name Dan Cooper boarded the Boeing 727-51 flight from Portland, Oregon to Seattle, Washington.

Shortly after taking off, he revealed to a stewardess that he had a bomb on him, demanded $200,000 (roughly $1.4 million - £1.1 million - today) and four parachutes, before escaping.

The case has remained a mystery, with it having been branded as 'unsolvable' by the FBI in 2016.

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The flight attendant who was on board the aircraft and saw the bomb, Tina Mucklow, has since shared her side of the story.

D.B. Cooper skyjacked a flight over 50 years ago, his case remains a mystery. Credit: Alamy
D.B. Cooper skyjacked a flight over 50 years ago, his case remains a mystery. Credit: Alamy

Mucklow was 22 years old at the time of Cooper's plane-jacking - the youngest of three flight attendants on board.

She explained to The Independent that she first new something was wrong when she picked up a note which had been dropped by her coworker Florence Shaffner who moved to row 18 next to Cooper.

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"I picked it up, and it basically said, ‘Miss, I have a bomb, come sit next to me, you’re being hijacked'," Mucklow recalled.

The now-72-year-old immediately knew the threat was real because changing seats was 'not normal procedure' for flight attendants.

Mucklow contacted the cockpit using an emergency signal, before going over to Cooper who showed her the bomb.

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"He explained how it would work. I think I was probably in shock. Then he had his hand in the briefcase, kind of closed it, and looked out the window.

"I was like, ‘What am I going to have to do to handle the situation? What am I going to have to experience? There will be an explosive decompression. Stuff’s going to fly in the cabin.

"And then, all of a sudden, I was like, ‘Oh, I’m not going to have to worry about any of this. I’m not going to be here'. When that hit me in the face, I tried to recognize that my life was probably at the end. And my first thought was I wanted to run, which is a perfectly normal reaction. But there was no place to run," she continued.

Faced with the possibility of dying alongside the 42 other people onboard and never seeing her family or friends again, Mucklow began to pray.

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She recalled praying for the hijacker too. "I was looking at him to the side, and I was thinking to myself, ‘He’s willing to take the lives of all these people'. I started to pray for him, and there was just a sense of peace.

"I never really thought about my own mortality from that point on," she said.

Mucklow explained how her and the plane's staff tried to remain 'respectful' when dealing with Cooper's demands to help 'keep him calm' and shield the passengers from any knowledge of the fact there was a man with a bomb on board.

However, the hijacker's request for $200,000 came with a time limit, which Mucklow noted caused a 'huge problem for the people on the ground'.

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Mucklow was the member of staff who was sent to collect the money once the plane landed. She recalled blinking back tears as the airline's operations manager for Seattle, Al Lee, asked her if she was okay.

The flight attendant then returned to the plane, noting the 'lives of the passengers' were the crew's 'number one priority'.

After handing Cooper the money, Mucklow was told by the hijacker she could let the passengers off. However, she remained on the plane alongside three pilots.

Cooper demanded $200,000. Credit: FBI
Cooper demanded $200,000. Credit: FBI

The plane took off again, although the back door had to remain open so the stairs could be lowered in mid air - as per Cooper's instructions.

"I was terribly loud and eerie to have the door open during take off and the airplane was totally dark in the back. I felt so alone at that point," Mucklow recalled.

The flight attendant was then ordered to remain in the cockpit with the pilots.

When she came out, Cooper was gone.

D.B. Cooper is thought to have parachuted from the plane at around 8pm. Credit: Universal Pictures
D.B. Cooper is thought to have parachuted from the plane at around 8pm. Credit: Universal Pictures

The 72-year-old noted how despite over 50 years having passed, she can still 'feel things as [she] remember[s] them in detail' and gets 'goosebumps at times'.

She also revealed many people have tried to contact her to solve the mystery of where Cooper ended up.

"I understand wanting to solve the crime, but I think they were very disrespectful of me and the other crew members too," she said, "But I wasn’t going to be defined by this. I moved on with my life and I enjoyed the things that I had the ability to do."

Mucklow's story is pivotal to film project Nod If You Understand. The film will be directed by Amber Sealey and production is expected to begin this year.

Co-producer of the film, Dawn Bierschwal - alongside Joey McFarland - called Mucklow a 'hero'.

Bierschwal resolved: "She used her wit, her sense of humor, and other things to influence the hijacker and save the passengers and crew.

"She got off the plane, and yet she chose to get back on to save the passengers. There were so many things she did."

Featured Image Credit: FBI Twitter/Amber Sealey

Topics: TV and Film, True Crime, US News

Poppy Bilderbeck
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