Helicopter prison escape foiled: Guards at a Greek prison foiled a daring prison escape involving a convicted murderer and a helicopter, with the prisoner getting shot.
A helicopter was used in a botched prison escape attempt in Greece, resulting in one inmate getting shot.
The helicopter descended down on the Trikala prison courtyard as armed men on board fired on prison guards and lowered a rope to help an inmate escape, reported The Associated Press. The inmate trying to get on board was a convicted killer who was making his fourth escape attempt in so many years.
But the prisoner, identified as convicted murderer and racketeer Panagiotis Vlastos, was shot and the chopper was forced to land in a parking lot.
Officials told AP that the helicopter first tried to tear off a fence surrounding the prison with a hook and rope. However, that plan failed to work, so the the chopper tried to lower the rope for Vlastos.
Vlastos is serving a life sentence for partaking in a “crime syndicate” that involved contract killings, according to the Ekahimerini publication, which also reported that the helicopter tried lowering a bag down. Vlastos last tried to escape from a prison in Athens in December 2011.
Vlastos managed to get into the helicopter for a moment, but then fell 10 feet into the prison courtyard.
Police said they recovered more than 500 bullets fired by the helicopter during the escape attempt. The armed men on board used AK-47 assault rifles to shoot at the guards, leaving one slightly injured by shards of broken glass.
The helicopter also had “improvised explosive devices” on board but did not use them, the Greek Ministry of Justice said, according to AP.
This is the third time that a helicopter was used in an attempted prison escape in Greece. But there have been a few dozen similar incidents over the past four decades.
In December, a helicopter escape in the United Kingdom was foiled by prison guards at the Gartree prison in Leicester, reported the Daily Mail tabloid. It involved convicted gang leader Mark Osborne and hitman Wayne Collins.
In the United States, there have been around a half-dozen incidents where a helicopter was used to break a prisoner out. In 2002, five prisoners escaped from the Las Cucharas prison in Ponce, Puerto Rico.
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