* Warning: this article contains slight spoilers for the first episode of Loki. *
Those Who Watched Marvel’s First Episode Loki may have reprized a scene in which the God of Mischief is seen, in a flashback, hijacking a plane as DB Cooper.
“Brother, Heimdall, you better be ready,” he said, referring to his brother Thor and the Bifrost bridge guard in Asgard before jumping off the plane with a parachute and a bag of money.
“I can’t believe you were DB Cooper,” Mobius, the character of Owen Wilson, raves to Loki these days. Loki told him in response, “I was born and lost a bet against Thor.”
In the series, the sequence is used to illustrate Loki’s propensity for mischief. But it’s also a reference to an actual hijacker whose identity has remained a mystery for 50 years.
On November 24, 1971, a man identifying himself as Dan Cooper boarded a plane in Portland, Oregon, bound for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Washington. Cooper was later misidentified in an early report as DB Cooper, a nickname that has remained in use ever since.
During the flight, Cooper gave a flight attendant a note that he had a bomb. He demanded four parachutes and $ 200,000 in cash, which he received at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. There, the 36 passengers on board were released, along with two of the three flight attendants.
The plane restarted at Cooper’s request. This time it headed for Reno, Nevada, flying at a relatively low altitude. Before landing, Cooper jumped off the plane after lowering his rear stairs, according to The Associated Press.
Cooper is believed to have escaped somewhere in southwest Washington. He was never caught, although $ 6,000 in banknotes with serial numbers matching Cooper’s money was found in 1980, a boy digging on a beach along the Columbia River.
In 2016, the FBI told The Associated Press it was no longer investigating the case and wanted further advice unless people found Cooper’s money or parachutes.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press.