SAINT-JEROME, Quebec — Two Quebec inmates climbed up a rope into a hovering helicopter to make a daring daylight escape Sunday from a jail northwest of Montreal, authorities said.
Quebec provincial police said later that they had arrested three people about 30 miles north of the Saint-Jerome jail from which the inmates escaped. One of those arrested was 36-year-old inmate Benjamin Hudon-Barbeau. Authorities were still searching for 33-year-old inmate Danny Provencal.
Police said a search operation was continuing in Chertsey, Quebec.
Earlier on Sunday, police received a call from the staff at the Saint-Jerome jail, reporting the escape around 2:20 p.m., said Quebec provincial police Sgt. Benoit Richard.
The jail’s warden told police that Hudon-Barbeau and Provencal had grabbed a rope dropped from the helicopter to make their getaway, Richard said.
Quebec provincial police tracked down the helicopter used in the escape on Sunday afternoon to Mont-Tremblant, about 53 miles away from the jail but only the chopper’s pilot was still at the scene. He was taken to a local hospital, Richard said.
“He’s going to be questioned later on by investigators, within the next couple of hours,” Richard said, adding that it’s too early to say what the pilot’s role was in the escape.
A Montreal radio station, 98.5 FM, said it received a call Sunday from a man claiming to be Hudon-Barbeau, who said he was “ready to die” as he tried to evade police.
The Saint-Jerome jail, located about 37 miles northwest of Montreal, experienced a mini-riot by about a dozen prisoners a little over a month ago.
In that incident, police were called in to secure the outside of the jail, which holds about 480 inmates, and the jail’s staff used pepper spray to disperse the mob.