Helicopter Prison Jailbreak: Two Inmates Arrested After Aerial Escape

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Two prisoners in Quebec, Canada, attempted a prison escape using a helicopter. The jailbreak occurred on Sunday afternoon, but police are reporting that they have four individuals in custody -- the two escaped inmates, as well as the pilot and another individual involved in the outbreak.

Benjamin Hudon-Barbeau, 36, and Danny Provencal, 33, were arrested on Sunday evening, around 8:30 p.m., reports CTV News.  The two inmates attempted a daring helicopter escape from a jail located near the town of Saint Jerome.

Quebec provincial police arrested Hudon-Barbeau and two other accomplices near the municipality of Chertsey, while Provencal surrendered an hour later after police found the escaped inmate in a shack, reports CTV News. The jail had received complaints about overcrowding as well as a lack of staff during the weekend.

The escape was a daring feat normally reserved for movies. According to eyewitnesses, the helicopter entered the prison and hovered as Hudon-Barbeau and Provencal used a rope to escape, reports the Associated Press. The pilot flew the two escaped inmates to the city of Mont-Tremblant. While the two inmates fled, the unidentified pilot remained at the scene and was taken by police to a local hospital. The pilot was treated for shock and police believe he is an “important eyewitness,” notes the AP.  

According to 98.5 FM, a Montreal radio station, the station received a call from a man who claimed he was Hudon-Barbeau. The individual made a statement about not wanting to return to prison as well as saying, “They won't let me be. They put me back in prison for nothing,” reports the AP.

The helicopter escape was the first Yves Galarneau, a correctional services manager that oversees the prison the two inmates escaped from, had ever seen. The AP also reports that the Saint-Jerome jail had experienced some recent violence as a riot involving close to a dozen inmates broke out last month.

There have been other famous prison escapes using helicopters. Most famously, Joel David Kaplan became the first individual to break out of a prison using a helicopter in 1971. Kaplan, a businessman from New York, was being held in a Mexican prison on a murder charge when he used a helicopter to escape. Kaplan fled to California, and the Mexican authorities did not extradite the escaped inmate. An accomplice in Kaplan’s helicopter escape fled to Guatemala.  

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