VANCOUVER, Wash. — A recently discovered parachute could not have been used by D.B. Cooper in 1971, says the man who packed the four chutes that were given to the mysterious skyjacker.
The torn, tangled parachute — found about a month ago by children along a dirt road near Amboy — was probably made around 1945, said Earl Cossey, who examined the chute for the FBI on Friday.
The FBI, which at first responded Tuesday by saying the matter remained under investigation, late Tuesday afternoon confirmed that there was no connection between the parachute and Cooper.
Laura Laughlin, special agent in charge of the FBI's Seattle division, said the agency came to its conclusion after speaking with parachute experts and digging where children found the parachute early last month.
A man who had given his name as Cooper hijacked a Northwest Orient flight from Portland, Ore., to Seattle in November 1971, claiming he had a bomb. After the plane landed at Seattle, he released the passengers in exchange for $200,000 and four parachutes and asked to be flown to Mexico. He then bailed out of the jet as it flew somewhere near the Oregon line.
Some of the money given to him was found in 1980 along the Columbia River, but the fate of Cooper remains unknown. Many think he could not have survived the jump.
Cossey, who sold parachutes at a skydiving operation in Issaquah in the 1970s, had provided the chutes Cooper used. He told The Columbian of Vancouver that the newly found chute "absolutely, for sure" could not have been one of the four that he provided.
"The D.B. Cooper parachute was made of nylon," he said. "This 1945 parachute was made of silk."
The FBI launched a publicity campaign last fall, hoping to generate new tips to solve the 36-year-old mystery.
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