Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Prisoners in helicopter jailbreak

Two convicts used a helicopter to escape from a Canadian prison

Two prisoners who climbed up a rope into a hovering helicopter in a daring daylight escape from a Canadian jail have been recaptured.

Quebec provincial police said they arrested four people about 30 miles north of the Saint-Jerome jail from which the inmates escaped on Sunday.

Two of them were prisoners Benjamin Hudon-Barbeau, 36, and Danny Provencal, 33.

Hudon-Barbeau was arrested on Sunday and later that night police located Provencal, establishing a security perimeter around a building where he had barricaded himself.

Sgt Benoit Richard of Quebec Provincial Police said later that Provencal had surrendered peacefully.

Earlier, police received a call from the staff at the Saint-Jerome jail, reporting the escape. The warden told police that Hudon-Barbeau and Provencal had grabbed a rope dropped from the helicopter to make their getaway.

Provincial police tracked down the helicopter used in the escape to Mont-Tremblant, about 53 miles away from the jail but only the chopper's pilot was still at the scene. He was taken to hospital and treated for shock, Sgt Richard said. He called the pilot "an important witness" in the case.

According to a police report, Hudon-Barbeau was arrested in November on two firearm related charges and associating with people who have a criminal record. The arrest came as part of an investigation of a double murder in Quebec.

Yves Galarneau, the correctional services manager who oversees the Saint-Jerome jail, said he had never seen anything like the dramatic escape in more than 30 years in the job.

He said there were no security measures in place at the jail to prevent a helicopter from swooping down from above, adding: "As far as I know, it's a first in Quebec. It's exceptional."

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