Canadian Inmates Escape From Prison In Helicopter

Two inmates at a Canadian detention center planned the ultimate jailbreak Sunday afternoon (Mar. 17).

Benjamin Hudon-Barbeau, 36, and Danny Provencal, 33, were hoisted onto a helicopter using cables, atop a facility in Saint-Jerome, near Montreal yesterday. The aircraft — rented in the city of Mont-Tremblant by two men who claimed to be tourists — fled the scene before officers had the chance to halt the escape. The inmates would enjoy just six hours of freedom before they were captured and arrested in a nearby city.

Hudon-Barbeau had just won against a double murder conviction, but was still being held in connection to an attempted murder charge. Provencal was serving seven years for a combination of charges, including arson. A man claiming to be Hudon-Barbeau called into a Montreal radio station to address the jailbreak, saying that it was initially Provencal’s plan

“I don’t want to cause any harm to anybody. I am not a killer. I never did anything bad to an innocent,” he told 98.5 FM. “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. It was not my idea to get away but Danny convinced me it was his friends who arranged it outside.”

After ditching the helicopter, the two men continued their getaway in a white Cadillac Escalade. By the time the police found the SUV in the town of Chersey, the aircraft had been returned to where it was hijacked. The pilot, who was abandoned along with the helicopter, was taken in for medical assessment and questioning by authorities.

A total of four men — Hudon-Barbeau, Provencal and two accomplices — were arrested Monday (Mar.18) and will appear in court to face unnamed charges.