Prisoners in Daring Helicopter Escape Rearrested

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Two Quebec prisoners staged a dramatic daylight escape Sunday morning by climbing a rope into a waiting helicopter.

Their freedom, though, was short-lived as police moved quickly to track them down and arrest them.

Late on Sunday night, hours after the escape, police announced that they had arrested Benjamin Hudon-Barbeau and Danny Provencal, along with two other accomplices.

The inmates, locked up at the Saint-Jerome prison, made their daring bid for freedom by climbing up a rope to a hovering helicopter.

Yves Galarneau, the correctional services manager who oversees the jail, said he’d never seen anything like Sunday’s dramatic escape in more than three decades on the job. He added that there were no security measures to prevent a helicopter from swooping down into the jail’s grounds.

He told reporters from the Canadian Press:

As far as I know, it’s a first in Quebec. It’s exceptional.

Police would not say how Hudon-Barbeau, 36, and Provencal, 33, were captured, but police set up a roadblock off the main road in nearby Chertsey and were pulling over cars Sunday night.

According to media reports, two men posing as tourists reportedly commandeered a helicopter from a local tour company and ordered the pilot to fly over the jail, where they lowered a rope to the waiting inmates.

Police eventually tracked down the helicopter about 85 kilometres away from the scene, but found only the chopper’s pilot.

He was taken to an area hospital said to be suffering from shock and investigators are expected to speak with him.

Police said it was too early to know what role the pilot had played in the escape.

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