Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski
MONTREAL — For the second time in just over a year, inmates have used a helicopter to escape from jail in Quebec.
Three men escaped Saturday from the Orsainville Detention Centre near Quebec City with the help of a green-colored helicopter, according to Quebec provincial police.
Audrey-Anne Bilodeau, a police spokeswoman, said the helicopter flew west from the provincial detention center, perhaps toward Montreal.
“There is a massive manhunt going on to try to locate them,” Bilodeau told NBC News, adding that a lone pilot was believed to have been aboard the copter when it arrived at the prison.
“We (are working with) a few partners like the airports of Quebec City and surrounding areas, the military bases, and of course there’s a ground search in the event that the helicopter is located,” Bilodeau noted.
The escapees were identified as Yves Denis, 35, Denis Lefebvre, 53, and Serge Pomerleau, 49.
All three were arrested as part of a major police operation in 2010 called Operation Ecrevisse (i.e., Crayfish or Crawfish) focused on drug trafficking, NBC News reported; the three were being held at the detention center waiting to stand trial.
Police warned anyone who spots them should not approach them and immediately contact authorities.
In March 2013, there was a daring escape at St-Jerome prison involving a helicopter pilot forced at gunpoint to fly to the facility on a quiet Sunday afternoon. Once there two inmates climbed up a rope ladder into the hovering helicopter and fled.
The two escapees and the two men accused of hijacking the chopper were caught by police in Mont-Tremblant, about 85 kilometres away, within a few hours.
Here’s a news report from the 2013 jailbreak: