D.B. Cooper, Escapist From the Sky: Chapter 2 – Part 3: As Time Passes


Spencer Smith

The most significant of the questions that emerged as a result of finding the bundles of money, was how? Authorities questioned every detail of every aspect of the case in hopes of discovering a potential way as to how the money traveled around 17 miles away from the drop zone. While looking at maps of the region, it would be a common thought that Cooper might have dumped part of the ransom into the Lewis River, which then possibly could have caused the bundles to be carried downstream by the Columbia River, before finally being washed ashore at Tina Bar. However, the main problem with this assumption is that the Columbia River flows in the opposite direction that the money would have traveled in order to be washed ashore at Tina Bar. Because of this, many members of the FBI began to reassess the initial drop zone. 

For instance, if the drop zone would have been more eastward, towards a river known as the Washougal River, it would be possible, although increasingly improbable, that the money could have floated all the way down to the Tina Bar. Another theory is that if the flight path was farther westward, then the bundles of cash could’ve simply landed upon Tina Bar. However, natural complications seem to speak against this opinion quite fairly. Also, a dredging operation took place in 1974 upon Tina Bar, upon which the money was discovered above it, which would mean that the money would’ve had to have come to rest upon the bar sometime after 1974. One detail completely does away with any of the present theories though, the fact that the rubber bands were still intact upon the bundles of money whenever they were initially discovered.

Experiments conducted in 2009 discovered that rubber bands couldn’t withstand exposure to open-air or water for more than a year. So, unless the bundles were buried and protected by the elements for some time, there is no plausible reason for the rubber bands to have withheld the money for so long. This discovery also puts forward the notion that the burial of the money must’ve occurred a year within the hijacking. Therefore, the most outstanding theory suggests that Dan or someone else deliberately buried the bundles of cash at Tina Bar. Despite this advancement, it ultimately asks a question before it answers one with: did Dan survive the hijacking and bury the money himself?