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18C on Paul Cini

From the Forum:

I’m sure most of you have heard the story of Paul Cini before. But it tickled my fancy so I’ll put you through it one more time:

Contrary to popular belief, D.B. Cooper was not the first hijacker to come up with the idea of extorting money whilst on board an aircraft with a view to exiting by parachute with the ransom. Though I believe he was the first who managed to exit an aircraft with the money.

Two weeks prior to D.B. Cooper pulling his stunt an extortionist by the name of Paul Cini hijacked an Air Canada flight out of Calgary with a bag containing everything he thought he’d need to pull off the hijacking and then survive in the wilderness after jumping from the plane.

He armed himself with a sawn-off shotgun, dynamite, a sheepskin rope, a collapsible shovel, a pup tent, food bars, hiking boots, and a parachute wrapped in a paper bag. After downing several drinks, he brandished the weapons and announced that he was a member of the Irish Republican Army who would blow up the DC-8 unless he was given $1.5 million and passage to Ireland. The plane landed in Great Falls where Cini received all the cash that Air Canada could muster at short notice. A meagre $50,000.

The DC-8 was en route back to Calgary to refuel when Cini told the crew to open one of the emergency exits so he could jump with the ransom.

Then it all unravelled for Cini. Or rather it didn’t. Cini had earlier tied his parachute into a package with rope, and to his embarrassment found he couldn’t undo the rope when it came time to use his parachute. Perhaps it had something to do with the booze he consumed?

So the frustrated Cini asked one of the pilots to lend him a sharp instrument to cut the rope and free his parachute. The pilot offered him the aircraft fire axe. Cini put his shotgun down to accept the axe and the pilot kicked away the shotgun and grabbed Cini by the throat. Another member of the crew picked up the axe and hit Cini in the head with it, fracturing his skull.

Cini was sentenced to life in prison in April 1972, though he was paroled after serving 10 years of his sentence.

D.B. Cooper Paul Cini certainly was not