D.B. Cooper: The Parachuting Airline-Hijacker

Do you reckon D B Cooper survived?

  • yes

    Votes: 11 42.3%
  • no

    Votes: 15 57.7%

  • Total voters
    26
A

Anonymous

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#1
Anniversary of D.B. Cooper

The 24th November is the anniversary of the disappearance of the first and only parachute skyjacker "D.B. Cooper" who parachuted out of a skyjacked Boeing 727 in 1971 with $200,000, never to be seen again. Most people believe he perished after diving out under temperatures of -56C (with windchill) at 200mph and 10,000 feet. In February 1980 about $6000 of rotting $20 bills and a piece of the plane's stairwell were found, seemingly suggested Cooper hadn't made it.

FT139 carries a story about a skull that was unearthed not far from the recovery of the loot which the FBI were testing to determine if it was indeed the intrepid Mr. Cooper, though I've heard nothing since (October 2000). Has anyone any further information on the testing? I presume it was inconclusive?

So don't forget to raise a glass along with the folks at Ariel, Washington to the almost-certainly-late DB Cooper.
 
A

Anonymous

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#2
After a veritable deluge of interest on this topic I saw a new theory courtesy of Strange but True the other day.

In the months following Cooper's disappearance, there were several "copycat" raids which ultimately led to all aeroplane stairwells being modified so that they couldn't open in mid-air.
Anyway, one of these so-called "copycats" was one Richard Floyd McCoy Jr.

http://www.gasdetection.com/MDS/m032000.html picks up the story:

"On April 7, 1972, Richard Floyd McCoy Jr. hijacked a United Airlines flight traveling from Denver to Los Angeles. His modus operandi was nearly identical to Cooper's, right down to the wording of the note passed to the flight attendant. These details were not made public at the time. The only difference was that McCoy demanded $500,000.

"McCoy bailed out near his hometown of Provo, UT, and was captured a few days later.

"McCoy was sentenced to 45 years, but escaped from the federal prison in Lewisburg, PA. He was killed in a gunfight with FBI agents, never confirming or denying that he was Cooper.

"Former FBI agent Russell Calame, who headed the McCoy investigation, is convinced that Cooper and McCoy are one and the same. Besides a similarity in physical appearance and m.o., members of McCoy's family identified a certain secret object as McCoy's property, that was left behind by Cooper during the Northwest hijacking.

"Moreover, the white shirt, dark suit and narrow black tie were stereotypical attire of students at Brigham Young University, where McCoy was studying to become a police officer. Both hijackings were even committed during vacation periods at BYU.

"What can we make of this?

"Certainly, law enforcement had every reason at the time to disavow any connection between the crimes. Far better to label something as successful but self-destructive than publicize that it was done twice by the same perp. And, with people loving folk heroes and mythology, far better that Cooper simply never be caught."

Back the original Cooper skyjacking - Cooper apparently used a huge, bright orange parachute which was never found. Also, during the following manhunt, authorites turned up two bodies which were not Cooper, but other missing persons, which could well account for the skull story above.

FBI Account of the McCoy skyjacking

Dan "D.B." Cooper account
 

ruffready

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#3
COOPER

I did some jumping in the service..I always thought he died ..from what I new of static and free fall jumping ,weather ,landing(where your gonna hit etc,,,) but now ..Hmmmm things always get weird..very cool story there..I had'nt heard this brought up in ages..also they still have'nt caught the " abortion clinic bomber.".rudolf..something forgot his last name ..he 's been on the run in the mountains of north carolina for a few years now ..with massive man-hunts...look that up; I bet it will make interesting reading.
 
A

Anonymous

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#4
Eric Robert Rudolph, also wanted in connection with the Atlanta Olympic bombing during the concert in the park. I think he's a keen survivalist, so the Feds reckon he's hiding out in the wild somewhere.
 

ruffready

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#5
DETECTIVE..

Yes.I would think he's getting some help from local(s) that is a mighty long time to use survival skills..his cloths would have long been gone /(on the run -no one place to long-escape and evade tatics to the ultimate!! he would re-write the book if he's done it alone..)the japs on Guam for the most part I believe ;one came out of hiding as recent as 70's had no one looking for them..one in the late 60's still had his weapon.
 

tattooted

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#6
The fact that Rudolph has been able to escape detection by massive manhunts armed with expert technology for so long kind of bolsters the claims of the bigfoot folks who believe that these cryptoids could exist without detection and evade even determined the most determined hunters. While Rudolph may have local help, the Bigfoots have the advantage of being native to their terrain. If Rudolph could stay hidden for so long in the Great Smoky Mountains, (800 sq. miles, 95% of it covered in forest), then surely the Bigfoots could easily lose themselves in the wooded expanses of the Pacific Northwest.
 
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#7
Who was D.B. Cooper? FBI theories, new evidence revealed in documentary

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

You tell people a story, chances are they're going to want to know the ending. In most circumstances, I try to provide updates as soon as possible after the initial columns run.

But today I offer an update on a story that ran a few years ago, about a mystery that stretches back to 1971.

The story may never have a satisfying ending, but it continues to provide interesting twists:

In August 2000, the D.B. Cooper case was exhumed in this column and readers still call and write to ask if the clues we provided have panned out.

Back then a Florida woman named Jo Weber called to say she suspected her late husband, Duane Weber, had been D.B. Cooper, the only man who ever hijacked a commercial airliner in this country and got away with it. He also got away with 0,000.

It's hard to believe anyone in the Northwest hasn't heard of D.B. Cooper, but for newcomers and young folks, here's a brief history: On Thanksgiving Eve 1971, a man who identified himself to the airline as "Dan Cooper" hijacked Northwest Airlines Flight 305, bound for Seattle. Dressed all in black and wearing sunglasses, he handed a flight attendant a note that said he had a bomb and wanted 0,000 to not detonate it. The plane landed in Seattle, Cooper was given the money, released the passengers and several of the crew, and directed the pilot to fly to Mexico.

When the plane hit 10,000 feet, in a fierce storm, Cooper put on a parachute, opened the rear door, and jumped.

His identity remains one of the 20th century's greatest mysteries.

Jo Weber has suspected for years she has the answer. Jo, a real estate agent who lives near Pensacola, Fla., contacted me four years ago, shared her suspicions and asked for help reaching people who had seen D.B. Cooper that day in 1971. She wanted them to look at photographs of her late husband, Duane.

Jo said Duane had made a deathbed confession that he was Dan Cooper. (The hijacker never called himself D.B. Cooper -- that name stuck after a reporter misreported the name.)

There were other strange clues, Jo said. In 1994 she'd discovered an old plane ticket from Portland to Seattle in Duane's tax papers. After she asked him about it, the ticket disappeared. And FBI sketches of Cooper resembled Duane.

Duane always had been vague about his past; it was only years after their 1977 marriage that Jo learned Duane had spent time in prison; some of that time was served in a federal penitentiary in Washington state. Duane once told her he'd hurt his knee "jumping out of an airplane." Another time he explained how flares could be made to look like a bomb.

And then there were the tickets and souvenirs from a trip to the Northwest in 1979, when Duane showed Jo around an area north of the Columbia River. He appeared to know it well, Jo said in 2000. At one point, she says, Duane "pointed to a logging road and said, 'That's where D.B. Cooper walked out of the woods.' I said to him, 'How do you know that?' And he says, 'Maybe I was on the ground.' I just took it as a joke."

For a long time, the FBI and others took Jo's theory as a joke. But there were others who thought she should be listened to. Ralph Himmelsbach, who headed the FBI investigation of Cooper from 1971 until his retirement in 1980, told me four years ago that he had had dozens of conversations with Jo and thought Duane was a credible suspect.

A few years ago an FBI agent visited Jo at her home in Florida and spent hours talking to her and examining Duane's possessions. When Jo heard nothing after his visit, she decided to continue her own investigation and contacted me.

After the column ran, a number of folks who had seen, talked to, or been on the flight with D.B. Cooper called and shared their recollections. All agreed to look at photos of Duane, to see if they recognized his face after nearly 30 years.

We were able to locate the agent who'd sold Cooper his ticket, and a man on the flight who'd remained in the cabin with D.B. Cooper after other passengers were moved away. We also located the flight attendant Cooper spoke with; she'd become a nun, and Jo had been looking for her for years.

Still, Jo could not get a conclusive answer.

But this case is not yet closed. The FBI came to Jo last year and asked for items that might provide DNA from Duane, she says.

The FBI will not comment on Jo Weber or the status of the Cooper investigation.

But on Aug. 7 the Discovery Channel will air a documentary titled "Flight From Justice: The Story of D.B. Cooper." Not only will Jo Weber be interviewed on the show, producers say FBI investigators will share their theories on who hijacked that plane nearly 33 years ago.

Some think Cooper died in his jump. A portion of the money -- a bundle of bills -- was found in a Columbia River sandbar near Vancouver in 1980.

But there's another intriguing possibility raised in the show: In 1972 a United Airlines flight from Denver to Los Angeles was hijacked by a man named Richard McCoy Jr. McCoy was a former Vietnam vet and a pilot who extorted 0,000 that day. He later escaped from custody and was killed in a gunbattle with an FBI agent. Was McCoy actually D.B. Cooper, repeating his crime? Or was he a copycat? The documentary promises to reveal new evidence.
Source
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#8
D B Cooper

What does everyone think about the legend of D B Cooper .

I've recently become fascinated by this case.

In case you don't know he hijacked a place and parachuted out into the night with $200,000 randsom money and was never seen again?
 

MrRING

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#9
Here's an earlier thread:

(link deleted as it referred to the old board - threads now merged)
 
A

Anonymous

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#12
Here's a very recent update on the hunt for db cooper:

Source

He's Not About to Let D.B. Cooper Get Away
By Tomas Alex Tizon, Times Staff Writer


VANCOUVER, Wash. — Some people spend their summer days lounging on beaches or hiking up mountains. Others retreat into movie houses and bookstores.

For California lawyer and former FBI agent Richard Tosaw, summer means trekking to the Columbia River and continuing his 24-year search for the legendary skyjacker known as D.B. Cooper. Thirty-four years ago, above this southwest Washington city, Cooper parachuted from a jetliner with $200,000 — and into folk-hero stardom. He was never seen or heard from again.

ADVERTISEMENT

The FBI calls his crime the only unsolved skyjacking in history, and the agency continues to keep the case open.

Tosaw (pronounced TOO-saw) believes the skyjacker's remains lie somewhere in the river. This month he hired a team of divers to scour a stretch of the river where a small portion of the ransom money was found. It was Tosaw's second trip to the river this summer. He has made the journey often enough to call it a tradition.

"I know guys who go elk hunting every year," said Tosaw, 80, who lives in the Modesto area. "I look for Mr. Cooper. It's my hobby."

It's an expensive hobby, but Tosaw, a bachelor with no children, said he could "afford to have a little fun." He paid the three-man dive team $2,500 a day for four days of searching an area on the Washington side of the river about five miles west of Vancouver. The team used a barge, pushed by a tugboat, as a command center. Tosaw, in jeans and sweatshirt, manned the barge like a captain, overseeing the activity and occasionally offering direction.

With the searchers wearing camera-equipped helmets, Tosaw watched the search as it happened, seeing what the divers saw in real time.

The river is about 400 feet across and 40 feet deep at that location. The divers concentrated on the shallows, going no deeper than 30 feet along the bank. They found all kinds of debris, including a 2,000-pound anchor believed to be about 100 years old — but no sign of Cooper.

The hope was to find something sticking out of the silt: a leg bone or belt buckle or wallet. Tosaw said the water in the Columbia was cold enough that Cooper's body probably would be well-preserved if it were there. "He could also be under 5 feet of sand," Tosaw said. "It's a needle in a haystack, I know. You'd have to be a lot lucky to find him."

What drives him, he said, is plain curiosity and stubbornness. "I've always liked solving mysteries, and this is a big mystery," he said. "How can a person in America in the 20th century jump from an airplane with $200,000 in ransom money and nobody knows who he is or where he is? That doesn't sit well with me. There's got to be an answer."

Tosaw has spent most of his life solving mysteries of one kind or another. As a graduate of a Denver law school, he joined the FBI in 1951 and served as a special agent for five years before starting his law practice in California. After a quarter-century of law, he started a business tracking down heirs of people who died with unclaimed estates.

He was never officially involved in the search for Cooper, but was always intrigued by the case and became friends with some of the lead investigators. In 1981, Tosaw read a newspaper article on the 10th anniversary of the skyjacking, and he has been looking ever since.

On his own time, he interviewed the crew and passengers of the skyjacked plane, and wrote and published in 1984 a book titled "D.B. Cooper: Dead or Alive?" At one point, Tosaw offered a $25,000 reward for the fugitive. Each year he uses the latest in high-tech search equipment to search the Columbia River, which is calmest and clearest during the summer.

He has also surveyed more than 100 parachutists on whether they thought Cooper could have survived the jump; about three-fourths said it was possible if he had served in the military as a paratrooper. At that time, military service was the most likely way to have learned how to parachute. Cooper was believed to have been in his 40s at the time of the skyjacking, which means he could have served in the Korean War.

The skyjacking happened on Thanksgiving eve 1971. A white man wearing a white shirt, narrow black tie, dark suit, raincoat and sunglasses and carrying a briefcase boarded Northwest Airlines Flight 305 in Portland, Ore. During the flight, he informed the crew that his briefcase contained a bomb and that he would detonate it if he wasn't given $200,000 in ransom money and four parachutes.

The Boeing 727 landed in Seattle, where the passengers were released and authorities complied with Cooper's demands. The plane took off for Portland with only Cooper and the crew aboard. About 45 minutes later, Cooper offered the flight attendants $2,000 each as a tip, then opened a door in the back of the plane and bailed out — into darkness and a driving rainstorm.

That was the last anybody saw of Cooper. Authorities don't even know whether that was his real last name. The name he provided when he bought his airline ticket was Dan Cooper. After the skyjacking, a newspaper reported that police had interviewed an Oregon man named D.B. Cooper, who turned out to be the wrong man, but the name stuck. Cooper made it to the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list.

"This is a guy who tweaked Uncle Sam's nose and appears to have gotten away with it," said retired FBI agent Ralph Himmelsbach, trying to explain Cooper's folk-hero status. Himmelsbach, who once headed the investigation, said that although Cooper broke the law, he didn't hurt anyone — except probably himself. Himmelsbach said Cooper jumped from 10,000 feet into a minus 7 degree temperature — 69 degrees below zero with wind chill — wearing "a business suit and slip-on loafers…. It's a long shot he survived."

In February 1980, an 8-year-old boy picnicking with his family along the Columbia River found a muddy wad of $20 bills totaling $5,800. Authorities confirmed the money had been part of Cooper's loot. The find corroborated the theory that Cooper was dead at the bottom of the river, but others speculated that he was clever enough to have placed the money in the river as a diversion.

It is near this spot — an area where debris naturally collects — where Tosaw has concentrated his efforts over the past several summers. "People want to believe he got away with it. They want to believe he's alive somewhere," Tosaw said. "I just want to find his wallet, so the world will know who the hell D.B. Cooper really was."

Tosaw said he might make one more trip out here before the rains started later in the year. Chances are he'll be back again next summer, he said. One of his secrets for staying motivated is to surround himself with like-minded people. One of those is Mike John, who heads Advanced American Diving Services out of the Portland area. Tosaw hired John's crew for the latest searches.

"We all recognize the chances are slim that we'll find him, but they found the Kennewick Man," said John, referring to a prehistoric skeleton discovered along the banks of the Columbia in 1996. "That guy had been buried in sand for 10,000 years, and then one day a couple of teenagers find him by the side of the river.

"You never know."

[Emp edit: Fixing big link]
 

amarok2005

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#13
It's been a while since I've read up on the Cooper case, but I remember my own beliefs from when I was "into" it. I'd have said his jump was suicidal except for 1) that $6,000 they discovered by itself buried in a riverbank (although I think it could have been buried by natural causes), and 2), every other aspect of his robbery and escape had been planned with meticulous care.

Still, sounded like a nasty leap into the night. . .
 
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Anonymous

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#14
In this article:

http://www.crimelibrary.com/criminal_mind/scams/DB_Cooper/8.html?sect=27

A geologist reckoned the money was deposited by the riverbank due to natural causes and tt was buried in sand.

I think the one part of the crime he couldn't plan for was his luck in where he landed. He may have been a non-swimmer who landed in the river or even get his chute caught at the top of a 300ft redwood tree. When I picture the jump out the plane, I doubt if he'd have been able to see the ground when he jumped if it was dark and raining.
 

Stormkhan

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#15
If he was meticulous and driven enough to go through with the skyjacking, he'd not baulk at the high risks taken by the jump. Cooper has become a legend because of no definitive solution. Everyone likes the idea of someone getting away with a crime because of their own audacity.
 

Anome

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#16
The jump isn't suicidal. It's exactly what the CIA were doing at the time in Vietnam and Cambodia: parachuting from the open back door on a 727. This has only helped fuel conspiracy theorists about the whole thing.
 
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Anonymous

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#17
Stormkhan said:
Everyone likes the idea of someone getting away with a crime because of their own audacity.
I don't particularly agree with this, especially in crimes where there is a victim.

But everyone loves a good mystery, if db cooper had been caught and jailed the following day we'd never have heard of him. I'd love to know who he is.

Does anyone think that the picture of Richard Floyd McCoy Jr looks like db cooper?

Itb can be seen here http://morgannews.us/richard-mccoy.jpg

They're not that similar
 

Stormkhan

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#18
To a certain extent concedo, Chris. A horrific serial killer, a paedophile, a serial rapist ... there are some crimes that pass beyond admiration for audacity; Jack the Ripper is the exception since we are divorced from the horror by time.

However, the mystery and the (non-fatal to victims) robbery has helped D.B. Cooper into the annals of legend. I think if the identity of Cooper was proved beyond question then many people would be disappointed.
 
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Anonymous

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#19
Stormkhan said:
To a certain extent concedo, Chris. A horrific serial killer, a paedophile, a serial rapist ... there are some crimes that pass beyond admiration for audacity; Jack the Ripper is the exception since we are divorced from the horror by time.

However, the mystery and the (non-fatal to victims) robbery has helped D.B. Cooper into the annals of legend. I think if the identity of Cooper was proved beyond question then many people would be disappointed.
I know exactyly what you mean, when someone outsmarts the establishment and there are no victims (apart from the taxpayer losing an average of 0.01 pence per taxpayer), they can get legendary status. A bit like the great train robbers.
 

Stormkhan

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#21
Yes, I think so! He was coshed and later die from his injuries in hospital, if I recall correctly. That's why the robbery assumed such importance - to the media, it was the amount of money stolen; to the authorities, it was the death of the driver.
That's why Ronald Biggs was persued so assiduously - he was the only one to escape his full sentence and The Man don't like it shown that crime does pay. The only reason why Biggs is back in jail is he'd blown all his money and you have to pay for healthcare in Brazil - he came back of his own accord rather than by the "professionalism" of the legal system.
 

WhistlingJack

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#22
As I recall, although the train driver (Jack Mills) was coshed, when he eventually died it was unrelated to the injuries he received and as it was more than a year and a day after the robbery, none of the gang could have been charged with murder anyway.
 
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Anonymous

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#23
Feel free to shoot this down but has anyone considered that the crew of the aircraft might have been the ones to get away with it? Think about it, you are flying for Mexico, Cooper is sitting there counting his cash and waiting until there is some easy terrain to bail out over and BLAM! you smack him over the back of the head. Drag Cooper to the back hatch, put him in a parachute, stuff a few notes into his pockets and push him out. All you have to do then is land and tell the police that he jumped out and escaped. Lie low for a while until they no longer need to keep questioning you and then enjoy all that lovely cash. Even if they find the body it is going to look like the 'chute failed to open or that he misjudged the height or something. Easy! ;)
 

GNC

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#24
It's the perfect crime! A bit unlikely though as the supposedly crooked crew would have to explain spending $200,000 in $20 bills over the next few months or years.

I think he's probably dead. He may have asked the crew to fly low, but at 10,000 feet in seventy mile an hour winds jumping out at 200 mph you're going to have some trouble opening your parachute. Even if he survived he may well have been injured, which would have signed his death warrant in that terrain. He was an eccentric at best to think it would work.
 
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Anonymous

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#25
gncxx said:
It's the perfect crime! A bit unlikely though as the supposedly crooked crew would have to explain spending $200,000 in $20 bills over the next few months or years.
A fair point although it brings up something else which bothered me about the story. The notes they found in the sandbank were checked and found to be part of the original swag. Presumably they were traced by serial number or some sort of marking system. If so, have any other notes ever turned up in circulation? Even if Cooper had connections which could get the cash laundered the notes would surely have to resurface somewhere eventually which would be all the proof needed that he survived. Contrarywise, if they have never appeared then it seems a better bet that he didn't make it.
 

AMPHIARAUS

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#26
JohnnyMolten said:
A fair point although it brings up something else which bothered me about the story. The notes they found in the sandbank were checked and found to be part of the original swag. Presumably they were traced by serial number or some sort of marking system. If so, have any other notes ever turned up in circulation? Even if Cooper had connections which could get the cash laundered the notes would surely have to resurface somewhere eventually which would be all the proof needed that he survived. Contrarywise, if they have never appeared then it seems a better bet that he didn't make it.
http://www.crimelibrary.com/criminal_mind/scams/DB_Cooper/4.html?sect=27
Cooper specified the bills should have random, not sequential, serial numbers. FBI agents followed his instructions but made sure each bill began with the code letter L, issued by the Federal Reserve office in San Francisco. Nearly all of the bills were dated 1969. Against a ticking clock, the agents held a hurried session in which each bill was photographed to create a microfilm record of all 10,000 serial numbers.

and a bit further on:
Cooper has not used his hijacking loot on tequila or anything else. The FBI distributed to law enforcers and banks 100,000 copies of a 34-page pamphlet listing all the serial numbers from the Cooper $20 bills. Besides those found on the Columbia River, not a single bill has ever shown up in circulation, as far as the FBI admits.

That pretty much sums it up for me, would have been nice if he had got away with it :(
 
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Anonymous

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#27
I suppose there is a chance that he survived but became seperated from the cash during the fall. Maybe he has spent every summer holiday for the last thirty years roaming the countryside searching for a bag full of loot. How frustrated would he be at that? ;)
 

Kondoru

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#30
I suppose there is a chance that he survived but became seperated from the cash during the fall. Maybe he has spent every summer holiday for the last thirty years roaming the countryside searching for a bag full of loot. How frustrated would he be at that?
That would serve him right
 
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