Two prisoners escape in hijacked helicopter
The correctional facility in Saint Jerome, as seen in an overhead view from Bing Maps.
Published Sunday, March 17, 2013 4:35PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, March 18, 2013 8:44AM EDT
MONTREAL - Two inmates hijacked a helicopter to escape from a correctional facility in Saint-Jerome Sunday afternoon at about 2:20 p.m., according to Benoit Richard of the provincial police.
The two escapees reportedly held a gun to the helicopter pilot’s head in order to make their getaway. The helicopter, a Robinson 44, was later located at Mont Tremblant.
An eyewitness told CTV Montreal that he saw the mean leap leap onto the helicopter, which did not actually land on the ground. They then clamped themselves onto the aircraft with cables as is flew upwards.
The helicopter belonged to the Heli-Tremblant rental service.
Police are hunting for the escapees, who reportedly got away in a white Cadillac after leaving the helicopter.
Veteran crime reporter Claude Poirier said that he had been in telephone contact with one of the escapees, named Benjamin Hudon-Barbeau, a high-profile offender who was cleared on appeal of a double-murder at the Upper Club nightclub on the Main in 2006.
Hudon-Barbeau, whose ex-con father wrote a book pleading his son's innocence on the Upper Club killings, was later returned to prison on weapons charges.
Poirier reported that Hudon-Barbeau had told him that he had been hit by police gunfire in the shin after holing up at a cottage in Chertsey.
In a news scrum held at around 6 p.m., SQ provincial police would not confirm the location of the manhunt and would neither confirm or deny that shots had been fired.
The other escapee is reportedly Dany Provencal, who was notably involved in a high-profile home invasion in Beaconsfield two years ago.
About one month ago, a tactical intervention team quelled an incipient riot at the same correctional facility, which houses about 480 inmates.
-With a file from The Canadian Press