The convict is Alexei Shestakov, who served twelve years of his 24-year murder sentence before he realizing his time could be better spent elsewhere (possibly murdering?) and decided to make a break for freedom.
"…asked him to organize a top delegation helicopter visit. [The associate] did not understand exactly what was meant, but went ahead and rented the helicopter."
It's called trust. And it is beautiful.
After the helicopter, which had been booked "for a business excursion," took off this morning, Shestakov's accomplices, described variously as either two men (boring) or a man and a woman (exciting; movie potential here), drew guns on the pilot and forced him to redirect the chopper's course to a nearby penal colony. Shestakov climbed aboard using a rope ladder as the pilot hovered above the prison. Guards fired on the aircraft as it flew away, to no avail, adding yet another layer of terror to what one hopes will never be surpassed as the scariest moment of that pilot's life.
Shortly thereafter, police recovered the helicopter abandoned on the side of a road not far from a nearby town. The pilot was found bound and gagged several miles away.
Unfortunately for Shestakov, while the seemingly trickier helicopter aspect of the plan went off without a hitch, he was undone by Stage 2: Taxi Tango after the cab he hijacked was stopped at a police roadblock. Following a brief exchange of fire in which only Shestakov was injured, the escapee was apprehended.
The whereabouts of his colluders are still unknown.
[Image via Getty]