A High Altitude Hijack

Aug 18, 2012

RAY: A lone hijacker commandeers a jetliner that's on its way from Boston to Los Angeles with a stopover in Chicago. At gunpoint he instructs the pilot to land the plane at O'Hare, whereupon he further instructs the pilot to call the authorities and tell them that this hijacker wants a million dollars in cash and three parachutes. Sure enough, they show up with the stuff, and since they did this, he agrees to release half of the hostages on the plane.

So, half the passengers get off, they load in three parachutes and the million dollars, and the plane takes off headed for Los Angeles. He then tells the pilot to lower the altitude, he opens the door with the million dollars in the suitcase attached to one parachute, and himself attached to another parachute, and he escapes.

The question very simply is: what's with the third parachute?


RAY: Here's the answer. The authorities knew that he needed one parachute for the money, and they knew that he needed one parachute for himself, and they had to assume the third parachute was for a hostage. Therefore, they could not run the risk of rigging the parachutes. Otherwise, they'd give him two parachutes that had holes in them.

TOM: Of course!

RAY: And he'd put the money in one and himself in the other, and plunge to his death. They couldn't take the chance that's why he asked for the extra parachute. The authorities didn't know who would get it so they couldn't foil his plan.

TOM: Wasn't he clever!

RAY: Yes, he was.

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