Alcatraz: Did Escapees Survive? Great White Shark Video: Could They Have Made It?

In the days leading up to the day that the History Channel aired a documentary that purports to offer evidence that Frank Morris, John Anglin, and Clarence Anglin could have survived, a video showing great white sharks in a frenzy was uploaded to YouTube. Considering the sharks in the area, could the inmates even be alive now? Some say they have been photographed in Brazil.

The YouTube user who uploaded the shark video, apparently taken near or on Alcatraz Island, Meredith Coppolo Shindler, states “Guess we know what happened to the few escapees!”

According to the SF Gate, the three Alcatraz inmates spent over two years plotting an escape that included the use of a rubber raft and attempting to navigate San Francisco Bay. The FBI’s official view is that the men drowned. Similar to Andy DuFresne, in the short story by Stephen King, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, and the film, indexed with IMDb, that almost religiously follows it, The Shawshank Redemption, the Alcatraz escapees dug holes with spoons over a long period of time, slowing plotting their escapes.

Does this new shark footage, perhaps, offer up some type of anecdote to the story that the three men successfully escaped from Alcatraz? Looking to the fact that there are numerous companies offering small boat rentals, as evidenced by a Google Search, in and around San Francisco Bay, it would seem that the journey might not have been all that the FBI thought it was. Long distance swimmers have covered much greater territory. Alcatraz is only about 1.25 miles from shore at its closest point.

Could the Alcatraz escapees still be alive? Could the brothers who escaped Alcatraz in 1962 have survived? Alcatraz Island in 2013. [Photo by Jamie Squire / Getty Images]A whole chorus of teen-aged girls have crossed Lake Ontario, a reported 32 mile-journey, reports the Toronto Star, and at least one woman swam the English Channel, reports Lost Swimming. Not to mention the woman that swam a 30 mile-route across the entire San Francisco Bay, as reported by the SF Gate. Each of these journeys would seem to make what the Alcatraz escapees faced comparatively tame.

The fact that many people enjoy water activities doesn’t negate that the fact that the men could have been attacked by a great white shark, but it would seem that the Alcatraz escapees could have survived the journey quite easily. There were only six “unprovoked shark attacks” up and down all of the California coast in 2014, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The artist Ai Weiwei “transformed the utilitarian” fixtures of the Alcatraz hospital into an art exhibit in late 2014 and early 2015 by filling them with carefully crafted ceramic flower petals. Thirty-six attempts were made by Alcatraz inmates to escape. Seven were killed by gunfire. Two are reported to have “drowned” and five, including the Anglin brothers and Frank Morris, are unaccounted for, according to Alcatraz History. The film Murder in the First deals with an Alcatraz inmate, said to be inspired by Henry Young, who spent long periods in solitary confinement, and casts a shadow on the treatment of prisoners at the penitentiary. The film received 7.3 out of 10 stars from IMDb users.


According to users on Twitter who report to have watched the History Channel documentary, two of the Alcatraz escapees, brothers John and Clarence Anglin, appeared in photographs purported to have been taken in South America in 1975. Others on the social media platform professed a newfound belief that the escapees are “100% alive and still out there.”

David and Ken Widner are said to be the nephews of the Anglin brother escapees and are featured in the special. The program is titled, “Alcatraz: Search For The Truth.”

Are the Alcatraz escapees alive in Brazil? “Ai Weiwei’s ‘Blossom‘ installation” on Alcatraz Island. A new History Channel special investigates if escapees could have survived. [Photo by Justin Sullivan / Getty Images][Feature Photo by Jamie Squire / Getty Images]