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Thread: D.B. Cooper

  1. #1

    Default D.B. Cooper

    Paper: The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution
    Title: 14 years ago, D.B. Cooper leaped into legend
    Date: November 28, 1985

    ARIEL, Wash.

    Dave Fisher is the owner of the Ariel Store and Tavern, located on a dead-end mountain road in this town of about 100 people 27 miles southwest of Mount St. Helens.

    To commemorate D. B. Cooper's free fall into history, about 1,200 people gather in Ariel the weekend after Thanksgiving each year to eat Fisher's chili and drink toasts of Rainier beer to Cooper. They crowd around the chili kettle and the potbellied stove, listen to the Hole Dam Band, and tell D.B. Cooper stories. Saturday will be the 10th annual and perhaps the last D.B. Cooper party.ARIEL, Wash. - This is the land of legends.

    Locals say Sasquatch, the Americanized abominable snowman, still stalks the thickly wooded coves near here, depositing his oversized footprints and overripe smell wherever he treads.

    Harry R. Truman, the tart-tongued resident of Mount St. Helens who disappeared under a crush of ash and mud when his beloved peak erupted in May 1980, has become the embodiment of the pioneering pride and stubbornness that is inherent in the people here.

    And in the minds of many, D.B. Cooper lives.

    Around here, folks say this country's only successful skyjacker walked out of these woods and right into the history books on a stormy Thanksgiving eve 14 years ago after parachuting from a Mexico-bound jet with $200,000 of Northwest Airlines' money in a package of $20 bills strapped to his waist.

    "He made it," Dave Fisher says without a flicker of doubt. Fisher, 36, is the owner of the Ariel Store and Tavern, located on a dead-end mountain road in this town of about 100 people 27 miles southwest of Mount St. Helens.

    "He had this planned for years, and he knew what he was doing. Besides, people want to believe he made it. He's become a legend because he beat the establishment and didn't hurt anybody doing it," says Fisher.
    <SCRIPT><!--D(["mb","
    To commemorate Cooper\'s free fall into history, about 1,200 people gather in Ariel the weekend after Thanksgiving each year to eat Fisher\'s chili and drink toasts of Rainier beer to Cooper. They crowd around the chili kettle and the potbellied stove, listen to the Hole Dam Band, and tell D.B. Cooper stories.

    Saturday will be the 10th annual D.B. Cooper party. It may also be the last. Fisher, a Vietnam veteran who works as a mechanic in nearby Vancouver, Wash., says he\'s selling the tavern and store and that it will be up to the new owners to carry on the tradition.

    Fisher says he and his wife want to spend more time with their two children. Besides, he says, business has been bad since it was brought home to them in the spring of 1980 that they were living in the shadow of a dangerous volcano.

    &quot;We lost the whole summer of businessas a result of the volcano and then two years of hunting and fishing after that,&quot; says Fisher.

    On a recent Sunday afternoon, with the snow-tipped peak of Mount St. Helens glimmering in the distance, two hunters sat at the rough-hewn bar, sipped Rainier beer, and grunted in agreement.

    &quot;Things really changed around here after the mountain blew,&quot; said one, &quot;and not for the better.&quot;

    But the interest in Cooper remains strong in this country of 150-foot Douglas firs and 5,000-foot mountain peaks. Fisher frequently gets letters from some of the 800 members of the D.B. Cooper fan club he started. There are letter writers who claim Cooper\'s disappearance was part of a CIA plot to discredit the FBI.

    Freaks and fans alike will show up for the party Saturday. Despite the impending sale, Fisher figures it will be like most of the others, almost as much fun as a backpack full of $20 bills.

    &quot;We never have much of anything planned. We just sort of let things flow,&quot; Fisher says of the party.
    ",1]);//--></SCRIPT>
    To commemorate Cooper's free fall into history, about 1,200 people gather in Ariel the weekend after Thanksgiving each year to eat Fisher's chili and drink toasts of Rainier beer to Cooper. They crowd around the chili kettle and the potbellied stove, listen to the Hole Dam Band, and tell D.B. Cooper stories.

    Saturday will be the 10th annual D.B. Cooper party. It may also be the last. Fisher, a Vietnam veteran who works as a mechanic in nearby Vancouver, Wash., says he's selling the tavern and store and that it will be up to the new owners to carry on the tradition.

    Fisher says he and his wife want to spend more time with their two children. Besides, he says, business has been bad since it was brought home to them in the spring of 1980 that they were living in the shadow of a dangerous volcano.

    "We lost the whole summer of businessas a result of the volcano and then two years of hunting and fishing after that," says Fisher.

    On a recent Sunday afternoon, with the snow-tipped peak of Mount St. Helens glimmering in the distance, two hunters sat at the rough-hewn bar, sipped Rainier beer, and grunted in agreement.

    "Things really changed around here after the mountain blew," said one, "and not for the better."

    But the interest in Cooper remains strong in this country of 150-foot Douglas firs and 5,000-foot mountain peaks. Fisher frequently gets letters from some of the 800 members of the D.B. Cooper fan club he started. There are letter writers who claim Cooper's disappearance was part of a CIA plot to discredit the FBI.

    Freaks and fans alike will show up for the party Saturday. Despite the impending sale, Fisher figures it will be like most of the others, almost as much fun as a backpack full of $20 bills.

    "We never have much of anything planned. We just sort of let things flow," Fisher says of the party.
    <SCRIPT><!--D(["mb","
    Some years there are D.B. Cooper look-alike contests, even though no one knows what Cooper looked like. But people show up for the contest wearing sunglasses, parachutes and trench coats with money bulging from the pockets.

    Some years, says Fisher, the man himself shows up.

    &quot;We know he\'s been here,&quot; Fisher says of Cooper. &quot;Nobody knows who he is, but he shows up, stays a while, and has a little fun.&quot;

    That\'s why FBI agents occasionally drop by the party. The case is still open (there are 933 suspects), and $194,000 of the money remains unaccounted for. A bundle of $6,000 that was among the money given Cooper was found on the banks of the Columbia River just south of here in 1980. But what happened to Cooper, his two Army surplus parachutes and the rest of the money is still a mystery.

    One of the few people actively trying to solve this country\'s only unsolved hijacking is Richard Tosaw of Ceres, Calif., a former FBI agent who is now in the publishing business.

    &quot;I know where he is,&quot; Tosaw said during a recent telephone conversation.

    &quot;I\'m convinced he\'s on the bottom of the Columbia River. I have no doubt that his skeleton will be found there, along with his parachutes and the rest of the money.&quot;

    Each summer for the last four years Tosaw has searched the murky, swift-flowing Columbia in an area where he believes Cooper\'s body is snagged on underwater debris. Some years he has used sonar. Other years he used grappling hooks. This past summer he used two scuba divers. But no body, and no money.

    &quot;We were hoping we would find him a few hundred feet from where the money was found in 1980, but we didn\'t, and that\'s disappointing,&quot; says Tosaw.

    There is no doubt Cooper jumped from Northwest Airlines Flight 305 somewhere near here on the night of Nov. 24, 1971. According to Tosaw, Cooper put 197 packets of money, each containing 50 $20 bills and weighing a total of 22 pounds, in a nylon bag tied around his waist. He put the other three packets in his pocket then lowered the rear stairway of the plane. Somewhere between Seattle and Portland, at about 10,000 feet, Cooper jumped into the cold, blustery night.
    ",1]);//--></SCRIPT>
    Some years there are D.B. Cooper look-alike contests, even though no one knows what Cooper looked like. But people show up for the contest wearing sunglasses, parachutes and trench coats with money bulging from the pockets.

    Some years, says Fisher, the man himself shows up.

    "We know he's been here," Fisher says of Cooper. "Nobody knows who he is, but he shows up, stays a while, and has a little fun."

    That's why FBI agents occasionally drop by the party. The case is still open (there are 933 suspects), and $194,000 of the money remains unaccounted for. A bundle of $6,000 that was among the money given Cooper was found on the banks of the Columbia River just south of here in 1980. But what happened to Cooper, his two Army surplus parachutes and the rest of the money is still a mystery.

    One of the few people actively trying to solve this country's only unsolved hijacking is Richard Tosaw of Ceres, Calif., a former FBI agent who is now in the publishing business.

    "I know where he is," Tosaw said during a recent telephone conversation.

    "I'm convinced he's on the bottom of the Columbia River. I have no doubt that his skeleton will be found there, along with his parachutes and the rest of the money."

    Each summer for the last four years Tosaw has searched the murky, swift-flowing Columbia in an area where he believes Cooper's body is snagged on underwater debris. Some years he has used sonar. Other years he used grappling hooks. This past summer he used two scuba divers. But no body, and no money.

    "We were hoping we would find him a few hundred feet from where the money was found in 1980, but we didn't, and that's disappointing," says Tosaw.

    There is no doubt Cooper jumped from Northwest Airlines Flight 305 somewhere near here on the night of Nov. 24, 1971. According to Tosaw, Cooper put 197 packets of money, each containing 50 $20 bills and weighing a total of 22 pounds, in a nylon bag tied around his waist. He put the other three packets in his pocket then lowered the rear stairway of the plane. Somewhere between Seattle and Portland, at about 10,000 feet, Cooper jumped into the cold, blustery night.
    <SCRIPT><!--D(["mb","
    Fisher thinks Cooper jumped while the plane was over Kalama, Wash., was carried to the east by the wind, and landed in nearby Lake Merwin. The FBI also considered that a possibility. Late in 1971 and early in 1972, the FBI swamped Ariel with agents. They found nothing.

    Legend has it that Cooper buried his parachute in the thick woods, met an accomplice on one of the nearby roads, tossed a few thousand dollars into the Columbia to throw off the FBI, and headed for Mexico, laughing all the way.

    They also say here that every few years Cooper returns to Ariel the weekend after Thanksgiving to tip a few Rainiers and stand around Dave Fisher\'s potbellied stove, eating chili and listening to the legend of himself.


    </div>",0]);D(["ce"]);//--></SCRIPT>
    Fisher thinks Cooper jumped while the plane was over Kalama, Wash., was carried to the east by the wind, and landed in nearby Lake Merwin. The FBI also considered that a possibility. Late in 1971 and early in 1972, the FBI swamped Ariel with agents. They found nothing.

    Legend has it that Cooper buried his parachute in the thick woods, met an accomplice on one of the nearby roads, tossed a few thousand dollars into the Columbia to throw off the FBI, and headed for Mexico, laughing all the way.

    They also say here that every few years Cooper returns to Ariel the weekend after Thanksgiving to tip a few Rainiers and stand around Dave Fisher's potbellied stove, eating chili and listening to the legend of himself.

  2. #2

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  4. #4

    Default

    Paper: Boston Globe
    Title: 12 YEARS LATER, LEGEND OF HIJACKER D.B. COOPER LIVES ON
    Date: November 24, 1983

    A dozen years ago today, D.B. Cooper, laden with two parachutes and 10,000 $20 bills, inched his way down the rear stairway of a 727 jet and plunged into stormy Oregon skies, the history books and oblivion.



    Now a Las Vegas magazine writer says that Cooper was actually a Missouri con man and purported government informant named Jack Coffelt who took the secrets of that chill November night to his grave four years later.



    The writer, Byron Brown, says he and his father, James Brown, a cellmate of Coffelt's at the federal penitentiary in Atlanta in the 1950s, accompanied the self-proclaimed hijacker to Oregon in 1974 in a futile search for the $200,000.



    Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents discount Brown's story, although they admit Coffelt ranks "in the top 20" among 933 Cooper candidates they have listed over the years.



    Brown contends the FBI has ignored the Coffelt theory because Coffelt spent half of his adult life in prison, the other half in gray areas working for the government.



    Cooper has been something of a romantic hero to the public since he tied a sack of money around his waist, strapped parachutes to his chest and back and plunged off the rear stairway of Northwest Airlines Flight 305 on Nov. 24, 1971.



    The incident remains the United States' only unsolved hijacking.



    It began in the twilight hours at Portland International Airport when a man listed on the manifest as Dan Cooper boarded the Boeing 727 with 36 other passengers and a crew of six.



    Brown, writing in this month's issue of the Las Vegan magazine, said the craft was only one-third full on the busy holiday eve because Coffelt had made numerous reservations, knowing the no-shows would leave the back of the plane empty for him.



    As Flight 305 began its 30-minute hop to Seattle, Cooper gave stewardess Florence Schaffner a note saying he had a bomb in his attache case. He demanded $200,000 and four parachutes. She rode next to the hijacker on the brief flight and has said that 1954 prison photos of Coffelt, plus later photos taken by Brown, bear a striking resemblance to the man.



    Seattle lawyer George LeBissoniere sat three rows from Cooper. He said Coffelt's pictures were "the closest thing I'd ever seen" to the mystery man on Flight 305. Both had viewed scores of FBI photos in the weeks following the hijacking.



    In Seattle, Cooper let the 36 passengers and two stewardesses disembark. Three crewmen and stewardess Tina Mucklow were told to stay. Once the money and parachutes were on board, Cooper demanded the plane take off with the rear stairwell down. The captain said that could not be done, and the plane lifted off with the door closed, heading south toward Cooper's announced destination - Mexico.



    Retired FBI agent Ralph Himmelsbach of Portland, who spent thousands of hours in pursuit of Cooper, recounted what happened next in a recent telephone interview.



    "I think he wanted to get out of the plane as soon as it took off, as soon as the plane was high enough to jump," he said. "But he had trouble getting the stairway open. He had to get Tina to help him. Then he was looking out in the dark, the wind blowing like billy hell. It took a lot of time to work up his guts."



    It took 35 minutes for Cooper to depart the craft.



    According to Brown, Coffelt recounted to him that as he descended the rear staircase in cold, blinding rain, turbulence jolted the plane and pitched him off before he could sight a beacon marking the location of a waiting partner.



    Coffelt talked of tumbling through the stormy sky, trying frantically to open a faulty parachute on his back, then dropping the money as he grabbed for a chute on his chest, Brown said.



    Himmelsbach said one of the four chutes was sewn up and given to the hijacker by accident. He denied claims the faulty chute was designed to foil the hijacker, emphasizing that authorities had feared Cooper planned to take a hostage with him.



    "We don't have the right to sentence someone to death," the retired agent said.



    Coffelt told Brown he crashed to the ground in a canyon miles from his planned landing spot, severely injuring his legs. He was eventually able to rendezvous with his unidentified partner, but neither he, his partner, the Browns nor an army of authorities ever found the loot.



    About $5000 in bills with serial numbers matching those on the money given to Cooper were found on a sandbar near Vancouver, Wash., in February 1980, but the remainder is believed to be moldering in the rugged Cascade Mountain foothills.



    Himmelsbach said years of searching for Dan Cooper - who was mistakenly dubbed D.B. when a reporter wrote a story using hearsay information from police - had convinced him Cooper was "a loser, an ex-con who was reaching the end of his string."



    The description fits Coffelt, who was born in Joplin, Mo., in 1916, was raised in Picher, Okla., and was sentenced to a reformatory when he was 15,

    winding up in federal penitentiaries in Atlanta and Leavenworth.



    After leaving Leavenworth he attended the University of Kansas at Lawrence, then lived in Lawrence intermittently.



    Robert Hoyt, a Lawrence resident and technical writer for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), said he knew Coffelt for years.



    "Jack was full of stories, some of which were true and some of which weren't," Hoyt said last week. "Sometimes he had stories about the FBI. I don't know that he was ever seriously involved with them, but they knew every time he came to town."



    Coffelt bragged of working with the FBI and CIA and flashed FBI identification, according to both Brown and Hoyt.



    Robert L. Dobbs, a Memphis lawyer who had represented Coffelt, said the ex-con had claimed to do undercover work for the FBI. He said Coffelt once boasted, "With my reputation I can get in with any criminal who they might want to check on."



    Dobbs said he knew Coffelt had been in Portland shortly before the hijacking. Could his client have been the elusive Cooper?



    "He was the type of person who wanted to do something daring and original before he left this earth," Dobbs responded. "He'd come up with the spectacular, that's for sure.

  5. #5

    Smile

    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories...l&SECTION=HOME

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    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- The FBI is making a new stab at identifying mysterious skyjacker Dan Cooper, who bailed out of an airliner in 1971 and vanished, releasing new details that it hopes will jog someone's memory. The man calling himself Dan Cooper, also known as D.B. Cooper, boarded a Northwest flight in Portland for a flight to Seattle on the night of Nov, 24, 1971, and commandeered the plane,......

  6. #6

  7. #7

    Default

    http://blogs.usatoday.com/ondeadline...ho-packed.html

    The man who packed four parachutes for D.B. Cooper says a chute found recently dates to World War II and is "absolutely, for sure" not one the infamous skyjacker used in his legendary 1971 getaway and disappearance.
    Earl Cossey delivered his expert opinion after examining the parachute for the FBI on Friday, reports the The Columbian in Vancouver, Wash.
    "The D.B. Cooper parachute was made of nylon," Cossey said. "This 1945 parachute was made of silk." He ran a skydiving outfit in the 1970s and gave the FBI the chutes that Cooper had ordered.

    Children playing along a dirt road near Amboy, Wash., found the torn, tangled chute about a month ago.
    The FBI has not ruled out the possibility that the chute was Cooper's.
    “We’re still in the process of finishing up what investigative steps we think are necessary to feel certain about calling it one way or the other,” Special Agent Robbie Burroughs said in Seattle.
    During a rainstorm the night of Nov. 24, 1971, Cooper jumped from a Northwest Orient jetliner with $200,000 in ransom money. No trace of him has ever been found. The only money recovered from the FBI’s only unsolved hijacking case was discovered along the Columbia River in 1980 — several miles upriver from the mouth of the Lewis. Some of the $5,880 in $20 bills is headed to auction.
    Many claim to have seen Cooper or have attempted to unmask him.
    What do you make of Cooper — "Man, myth, mystery"?
    Update at 7:33 p.m. ET: The FBI has just announced the parachute is not connected to Cooper.

  8. #8

    Default

    http://newsok.com/article/3221601/1206617748

    ....
    Find may change theory
    Amboy is 27 miles northeast of Vancouver, and more importantly, within Cooper's projected landing area. FBI agents defined that area based on the estimated time Cooper jumped from a Boeing 727 on Nov. 24, 1971. That night, Cooper jumped with $200,000 and a Navy-issue NB6 parachute.
    Many experts, including retired FBI agent Ralph Himmelsbach and current FBI agent Larry Carr, don't think Cooper survived the jump. They characterize Cooper as likely a novice skydiver who naively flung himself into a torrential downpour and fierce winds.
    "If D.B. Cooper had pulled his chute not long after that jump, he would have landed in that (Amboy) area,” Carr told The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "Is this D.B. Cooper's parachute? We don't know yet.
    "If this canopy can be traced to an NB6, it will start looking good.”
    The prospective evidence could drastically alter Carr's theory.
    "A lot of theories will be blown out of the water with this one,” Ingram said. "If the parachute was his, then I'd say it is likely he survived.”
    Ingram based his conclusion on the one piece of evidence he knows best — the D.B. Cooper ransom money.
    "If that's the case,” Ingram said, "then I'd say he buried that money.”
    A long-standing FBI theory is that Cooper lost the money during the jump, and the few surviving bundles found by Ingram nine years later had likely been washed down river.
    But Amboy doesn't sit on any watershed connected with the Columbia River.
    "If this is D.B. Cooper's parachute, the money could not have arrived at its discovery location by natural means,” Carr said. "That whole theory is out the window.”

  9. #9
    So, is it his or not ? Looks like we have a little debate going on. I think if the FBI matched up serial numbers on the money that was stolen, it has to be his, right ?

  10. #10

    Default Re: D.B. Cooper

    https://www.oregonlive.com/expo/news...cooper-co.html

    Wherever he was on Saturday, D.B. Cooper's ears must have been burning.
    True-crime aficionados assembled at Portland's Columbia Edgewater Country Club 47 years to the day after the skyjacker took over Northwest Orient Flight 305 out of the Rose City. The 2018 D.B. Cooper Conference featured more than half a dozen speakers, ranging from a parachuting expert to a scientist involved with the recent analysis of the clip-on tie Cooper left behind on the plane.
    It only seemed right to hold the conference on the anniversary of the infamous crime, but because it was just two days after Thanksgiving, there were plenty of empty seats in the room. About 80 people showed up over the course of the day to learn more about the case that has long frustrated the FBI and has inspired books, movies, TV documentaries and more.
    Everyone at the Portland country club's second-floor meeting room was there for the same reason: To try to figure out what had happened to the man who parachuted out of the Boeing 727 on the night of November 24, 1971, with $200,000 in ransom strapped to his body. He gave his name as "Dan Cooper" when buying his plane ticket, but his actual identity remains unknown. The so-called "Norjak" crime is the only unsolved skyjacking case in U.S. history.


    The Cooper case has kicked up a variety of wild suppositions over the years -- that it was an "inside job" by Northwest Airlines personnel, that disgruntled CIA operatives and/or Vietnam vets did it, that the skyjacker had a professional "extraction" team waiting for him on the ground, etc. So it surely surprised no one at the Columbia Edgewater when the discussion veered into tangential conspiracy theories. A few examples:
    -- A bizarre "cattle mutilation phenomenon" has apparently struck the family that owns the Washington state riverfront property where a small amount of the Cooper ransom money was discovered in 1980.
    -- Earl Cossey, the man who claimed he owned and delivered the parachutes to the hijacked plane in Seattle, was murdered in 2013 as new questions swirled about what, if any, role Cossey actually played in the skyjacking case.
    -- On the night of the skyjacking, FBI agents in Seattle tried to undermine the ransom-and-parachute delivery so agents could storm the plane.
    Throughout the day, featured speakers and audience members alike shared little-known and unsubstantiated details about the skyjacking, including that the airline served free drinks to keep the passengers/hostages content during the Portland-to-Seattle flight and that a fight broke out between two of the well-lubricated passengers, with Cooper himself stepping in to break it up.


    Some of the Cooper-case amateur sleuths who have books and other projects to sell showed up to make their case for their particular suspect.
    Members of documentary filmmaker Tom Colbert's investigation team were on hand to argue that former paratrooper and alleged con man Robert Rackstraw, now retired in the San Diego area, was D.B. Cooper.
    Vern Jones, the head of a small media company that recently published the memoir "D.B. Cooper & Me," talked about Walter Reca, the late Michigan man the book claims was both D.B. Cooper and a longtime spy for the U.S. government.


    Conference organizer Eric Ulis laid out his case against the still-living World War II vet, smokejumper and one-time Boeing employee Sheridan Peterson, proving at the very least that Peterson has led a strange, colorful life.
    "Knowing Sheridan Peterson as I do and knowing the evidence as I do, it is obvious to me that Sheridan was D.B. Cooper," Ulis wrote in his recently completed, 126-page report, "D.B. Cooper: The Definitive Investigation of Sheridan Peterson."
    Not in attendance at the Columbia Edgewater: The U.S. Army data analyst who, earlier this month, revealed to The Oregonian an entirely new suspect, one who appears to have flown under even the FBI's radar. The Army officer is keeping his own identity out of the public sphere as he continues his research.
    READ MORE: New suspect in D.B. Cooper skyjacking case unearthed by Army data analyst; FBI stays mum
    One of the most fascinating presentations came from Tom Kaye, a spectroscopy expert and the lead investigator for the so-called Citizen Sleuths team that in 2011 analyzed the tie the skyjacker left behind on the plane.


    Kaye pointed out that micro-forensic analysis of physical evidence would be a normal part of a criminal investigation today, but back in the 1970s the capability largely did not exist.
    Kaye and his team found various industrial-processing particles on the tie, including iron, bismuth, gold, aluminum silicon, chlorine, stainless steel, lead phosphate, cadmium, mercury sulfide, tungsten and even pure titanium and rare earth elements.
    It's a bewildering array of materials, including poisonous ones. For some of the particles, there are quite prosaic explanations -- the gold, for example, could be from the wearer's tie clip. But a few of the particles were unusual, leading Kaye to unusual guesswork. Bits of one rare metal made Kaye theorize that the skyjacker was a "ladies man."
    Bismuth, Kaye said, was used in glitter worn by 1970s party girls, so the night before he took over Northwest Orient Flight 305, "Cooper could have been out on the town with some floozy."
    Meaning the reason D.B. Cooper hijacked an airline 47 years ago just might have been for the oldest and most common of all reasons men do stupid things: to impress a woman.

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