Skyjacking: The Jump
It was 5:45pm in Seattle, and the skyjacker’s plane was on the tarmac. Waiting for the parachutes, e money, and refueling at Sea-Tac airport must have been excruciating for Walter. He was concerned about the possibility of a sniper, so he kept lights at a minimum and the windows covered.
When it arrived, the money was stowed in a bank bag instead of a knapsack, requiring Walter to improvise in order to take it with him. He agreed to let the passengers leave the plane, wishing them a Happy Thanksgiving on their way. He even offered the stewardesses a couple of bundles of cash, saying, “You’ve all been nice to me; I never had a chance to thank you.” They refuse to accept the money.
They took off again at 7:48pm, with orders from Walt to fly to Mexico at10,000 feet, 200 miles per hour, and with the flaps down to fifteen degrees. Now Walter had to decide how to make his escape. He used the chords of one main parachutes to tie the money bag around his neck. Next, he donned his overcoat and secured the bag again with his coat belt. Last came the parachute over it all.
The chute did not have D-rings for attaching a reserve, but Walt was so experienced and so foolishly fearless that he may not have worn one anyway. It is estimated that it was less than -10 degrees that night at 10,000 feet, with heavy cloud cover and freezing rain on the ground. And yet, there was only one way out of this thing. Walt jumped.