Four men, including two inmates, face some two dozen charges in connection with a daring helicopter prison escape from the Saint-Jérôme Detention Centre about 20 miles northwest of Montreal. On Sunday, two accomplices posed as tourists and chartered a Robinson R44 helicopter from Mont Tremblant, about 30 miles north of the prison. After takeoff, they forced the pilot at gunpoint to fly to Saint-Jérôme, where they instructed him to land on top of one of the buildings.
They lowered ropes to the two inmates, Benjamin Hudon-Barbeau, 36, and Dany Provencal, 33. The pair dangled beneath the helicopter as it took off and landed in a field outside the prison. The inmates then climbed on board and the pilot was instructed to fly to the town of Exterét, where the criminals fled in a car. Police tracked them and they were recaptured within a few hours in the nearby town of Chertsey, following an exchange of gunfire with police in which no one was injured. The four men face charges including kidnapping, hijacking and attempted murder. They will face their next court appearance on April 16.
Within the last month, a similar helicopter escape was foiled in Greece when the attempted escapee was wounded by gunfire from prison guards.