Canadian Inmates Escape Prison In Helicopter

Three men have escaped a Canadian detention facility by helicopter, prompting a massive manhunt, CBC reports.

The three inmates escaped the Orsainville detention center in the Quebec City suburbs around 7:45 pm on Saturday (June 7th.), when a green helicopter with red and white markings spirited the trio away. They then fled in a westbound direction.

Canadian authorities are now searching for Denis Lefebvre, 53, Yves Denis, 35, and 49-year-old Serge Pomerleau. Police spokesperson Ann Mathieu said that “Priority number one is to locate the helicopter and the three escapees that are inside that helicopter,” adding that authorities “are really working closely with the detention center for all the information that we can possess on those individuals.”

Authorities believe that there was a single pilot in the helicopter, which landed briefly in order to pick up the escaping inmates. According to the Independent, two of the men had been arrested on drug charges, for which they were awaiting trial. Lefebvre also reportedly has ties to the Hells Angels.

The dramatic escape marks the second time that inmates have escaped a Canadian facility using a helicopter in just over a year. As The Inquisitr reported at the time, in March of 2013, a similar incident occurred when two men pretending to be tourists commandeered a sightseeing helicopter, forcing the pilot at gunpoint to fly over a detention center, where they lowered ropes to two inmates. The escapees in that event were quickly recaptured.

Police released photos of the three escaped inmates via Twitter, while simultaneously warning the public not to approach them.

Authorities stated that they were working in conjunction with nearby airports and the military in order to track the helicopter’s flight path. Provincial police spokeswoman Audrey-Anne Bilodeau also said that a ground search was underway, in hopes that the helicopter may be located.

Airborne escapes are far from unheard of and have been attempted around the globe. Joel David Kaplan was one of the first inmates to escape in such a manner and is likely the highest profile case. His 1971 escape inspired the 1975 movie Breakout. As CNN reports, an Albanian prisoner, Alket Rizaj, twice escaped a Greek maximum security prison with the aid of accomplices in helicopters.

[Image via SFGate]