Two Canadian Inmates Escape via Hijacked Helicopter in Daring Mid-Day Prison Break

Taking their cues from direct-to-DVD action movies, two inmates broke out of a Quebec prison today by climbing a rope to a hijacked helicopter hovering above the jail's yard. Quebec provincial police later arrested three people 30 miles from St. Jerome prison, including one of the inmates, 36-year-old Benjamin Hudon-Barbeau. The other escaped inmate, 33-year-old Danny Provencal, is currently "surrounded," according to police.

"We are negotiating with him now," [Quebec police spokesman] Richard said, adding police were hoping for a peaceful resolution.

Police tracked the helicopter to a town roughly 50 miles from the jail, where they found the pilot. He was taken to a nearby hospital and will be questioned later. Maxime Landry, a reporter LCN who knows the pilot, said the pilot was hired for a tour Sunday afternoon by two people; once in the air, Landry said, one of the passengers put a gun to the pilot's head, forcing him to fly to the prison.

Shortly after the escape, a man claiming to be Hudon-Barbeau called 98.5 FM in Montreal, saying:

"I don't want to cause any harm to anybody. I am not a killer. I never did anything bad to an innocent. I know that (the escape) wasn't the best thing to do, but I didn't want to stay in prison anymore. I am ready to die," the station reported he said.

Yves Galarneau, the correctional services manager at St Jeromes jail, said he'd never seen or heard of anything like the escape.

"As far as I know, it's a first in Quebec," he told reporters at the scene. "It's exceptional."

[CNN, AP, Montreal Gazette]