“Dan Cooper”

D.B. Cooper

This was the second song I wrote for “Missing.”

I was living in Oregon in 1971, going to high school in Corvallis, when a man called “D.B. Cooper” by a news reporter hijacked a flight from Portland to Seattle, demanding $200,000 and four parachutes. After letting all the passengers off at Boeing Field in Seattle, he told the pilot to fly to Mexico City, but at no higher than 10,000 feet and at a limited speed. Somewhere northeast of Portland, over the Washington Cascades he jumped out of the back of the 727. He was never found, and in 2017 the FBI closed the case. We don’t know his real name.

One late November afternoon in ‘71

In the City of Roses where two rivers run

He said his name was Dan Cooper

He bought a one-way fare

A short hop to Seattle and he’d be there


He chose 18 E, the very last row

Ordered bourbon and soda and lit up a smoke

Once they cleared the great Columbia

To blue skies they rose

He smiled and gave the stewardess

A handwritten note


They flew over the mountains

But he came down to an uncertain fate

In that rugged Ring of Fire

Where mysteries of old and late

Beneath the mountains wait


He said “I’ve got a bomb in my briefcase here”

He showed her then made his demands very clear

Two hundred thousand in American bills

Four parachutes and a truck to refuel


On the Seattle tarmac the ransom was brought

He got the chutes and the cash

And let the passengers off

The captain climbed slowly into skies of black

Flying low to the south with only Cooper in back




At ten thousand feet in a freezing rain

Cooper lowered the stairs

And he leapt from that plane

O’er Washougal, Amboy or Ariel

Somewhere he came to earth, but no one heard


Decades have passed but not a clue can they find

Despite all the efforts of the FBI

Except an eight year old boy some nine years on

Found three packets of bills

But with two hundred gone






















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