Quebec prisoners escape from jail via helicopter, still at large

SAINT-JEROME, Que. – Quebec provincial police were searching Sunday for two prisoners who escaped from a Saint-Jerome prison in a helicopter.

Police located the helicopter about 85 kilometres away in Mont-Tremblant on Sunday afternoon.

Sgt. Benoit Richard said police received a call from prison staff regarding the dramatic escape around 2:20 p.m. He didn’t say if the helicopter had landed on prison grounds and wouldn’t provide further details about the getaway.

After authorities found the helicopter, Benoit said the chopper’s pilot was taken to an area hospital where he would be questioned by investigators.

“He’s going to be questioned later on by investigators, later on, within the next couple of hours,” Richard said, adding that it’s too early to say what the pilot’s role was in the escape.

Richard said the two prisoners were still at large and wouldn’t confirm their identities.

A Montreal radio station, 98.5 FM, received a call Sunday from a man claiming to be one of the escapees who said he was “ready to die.”

The Saint-Jerome jail, located some 60 kilometres northwest of Montreal, experienced a mini-riot by about a dozen prisoners a little over a month ago.

In that incident, police had been asked to secure the outside of the prison, which holds about 480 inmates, and facility staff used pepper spray to disperse the mob.

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