Man Searching for D.B. Coopers Parachute Money Nearly Dies in Accident
A former Navy SEAL nearly met the same fate as some historians believe met the mysterious D.B. Cooper when he jumped out of a Boeing 727 airliner in darkness between Portland and Seattle in 1971.
Matt L'Hommedieu, who lives in the town of Stevenson, WA had planned to meet up with a friend in a remote area of the Columbia River Gorge to search for Cooper's parachute. They planned to meet up a week ago Thursday. Authorities didn't say why Matt and his friend has chosen that area to search.
Matt was on his dirt bike and heading for the remote area, where cell signal service is spotty. However, as he was about a mile away from the area, he lost control of the bike, dumped it and rolled 40 feet down into a ravine. He suffered a broken leg, arm, and collapsed lung.
However, utilizing his SEAL survival training, he made a split out of his shoelaces, I-phone chord and branches. He was able to crawl half way up the hill but then could not continue.
He was finally spotted after spending the night there on the ground when a couple who were out sightseeing saw his overturned motorbike. Anson and Angela Service had actually driven by and saw the cycle, but a while later saw it was still there and thought it looked "strange."
After hiking around a bit and looking down the hill, they saw L'Hommedieu and were able to get him help. He is expected to make a full recovery.
Over the decades, hundreds of history and other buffs have searched (mostly in vain) for Cooper's parachute, and the $200,000 he demanded as part of his hijacking a Northwest Airlines jet in 1971. Cooper parachuted out the back of the aircraft. Most experts think he didn't survive, but some of his money was later found in a nearby river shortly after the jump.
The Boeing 727 was known for having a rear set of stairs that were lowered out the tail of the aircraft. Cooper demanded the pilot lower the stairs, he walked down wearing the chute, carrying another and his money, and jumped.
After this hijacking, Boeing modified the 727 so the rear passenger stairs could not be lowered under any circumstances while the aircraft was in the air.
But to this day, his chute and body were never seen, nor was there any other clues he might have died. An extensive report on the Discovery Channel a couple of years ago indicated he might well have likely survived, and actually died a few years ago as a very old man. It remains one the greatest legends in Pacific Northwest history.
(Sketch of Cooper used by FBI from witnesses and aircraft personnel after hijacking ended.)