The helicopter prison breakout attempt that was foiled in Greece on Sunday was tipped off to the Greek authorities ahead of time, preventing jailed crime boss Panayiotis Vlastos from escaping.
In the daring attempt, the helicopter tried to rip off a prison fence to facilitate Vlastos’s escape, but when that failed, the copter lowered a rope to Vlastos, who was able to get onto the helicopter for a short time.
However, Vlastos, a convicted murderer who had tried to break out of prison in the past, fell back down to the prison courtyard. The helicopter was then forced to make a landing in the Trikala prison’s parking lot.
Gunmen on board the helicopters armed with an AK-47 assault rifle and two Uzis fired at least 500 rounds at prison guards, The Associated Press reported.
Greek Justice Minister Antonis Roupakiotis said Monday that his office was tipped off of a potential prison break on Sunday.
“We had information that there were some jails we needed to keep an eye on, including Trikala prison,” Roupakiotis told. Mega TV, according to the Ekathimerini. He did not elaborate on whether he knew there would be a helicopter involved in the escape attempt.
The three armed men, a Greek, Albanian, and a Romanian, were arrested, the newspaper said.
Vlastos, serving a life term, tried to break out in 2011, 1998, and 1999. Prison authorities said that he was shot in the leg during his latest escape attempt on Sunday.
The Ministry of Justice said that the helicopter passengers also had “improvised explosive devices” but did not use them in the incident, AP reported.
While he was on trial for kidnapping, Vlastos attempted to escape in December 2011 from the Korydallos along with three members of an anarchist group, reported AP. The group took several people hostage inside the prison but were forced to give up hours later.
On Sunday, raw video footage of the purported helicopter used in the escape attempt was posted on YouTube.
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