Former flight attendant reveals terrifying ordeal during famous DB Cooper plane hijacking

A FORMER flight attendant has recalled her terrifying ordeal during the famous DB Cooper plane hijacking.

Fifty years after it happened, Tina Mucklow has spoken out about the DB Cooper plane hijacking in 1971, ahead of a new film expected to enter production next year.

Aged just 22 at the time, Tina was a flight attendant onboard a plane travelling from Portland, Oregon, to Seattle, Washington with 36 passengers onboard.

As the plane was preparing to take off, one of Tina's colleagues got up and moved seats to sit next to DB Cooper, who was in a seat under the name Dan Cooper and holding a suitcase.

While she was moving, the flight attendant dropped a note at Tina's feet.

As reported in The Independent, Tina said: "I picked it up, and it basically said, 'Miss, I have a bomb, come sit next to me, you're being hijacked'."

It was because her colleague had moved to sit next to the hijacker, which was "totally not normal procedure" that Tina knew the threat was real.

Tina said: "He opened the briefcase and showed me the bomb. 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."

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DB Cooper passed Tina a second note with his demands of $200,000 in $20 notes and four parachutes.

She took the note to the pilots who asked air traffic control for an area they could circle while the money and parachutes were being collected.

Tina said they were told to keep flying over a body of water near Seattle, "because if anything happened, they didn't want us to rain down on people."

Meanwhile, the other passengers on board had no idea anything unusual was going on, and Tina kept it that way.

She said: "I couldn't give away that we were dealing with a life-and-death situation back here."

Tina worked hard to keep DB Cooper calm while his demands were met.

She said: "There were several times when he got really upset and I tried to keep him calm and reiterate that we were doing the best we could and trying to give him as much information as possible."

Soon a plan was made to land the plane and collect the money and parachutes. The plane would then refuel and take off again, so DB Cooper could jump out using one of the parachutes.

Tina was chosen to leave the plane and go and pick up the cash from the airline's operation manager for Seattle, and said she had to "blink back tears" before taking the money over to the plane.


When she got back on board, she asked DB Cooper if the passengers could leave, which he agreed to, which left just Tina and the three pilots with the hijacker.

DB Cooper demanded when the plane took off again that the door stay open so that he could escape, which Tina said made the cabin completely black and "loud and eerie".

After asking Tina to lower the steps, she was then told to go in the cockpit until the plane landed in Nevada – only realising when they landed that he had jumped from the plane.

They were greeted by the FBI when they disembarked, and then got into cars.

Tina said it was when she got into the safe car that "the dam broke" and she was overwhelmed by what had happened.

Fifty years on, Tina has reflected on how the media has picked up on the hijacking, where DB Cooper has been painted a hero for managing to escape.

She said: "It has been a sad journey. To think that somebody who was a criminal and put the lives of crew and the passengers at risk, plus those of any number of people on the ground, would be looked at as a hero."

For years Tina was inundated with calls and letters from people desperate to solve the case, but she never wanted to be involved.

However, she is now ready to share her story, and it will be told in a film titled Nod If You Understand, which is expected to enter production in 2022.

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