Four arrests after helicopter prison escape

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The Canadian Press

MONTREAL – Four people have been arrested in connection with the daring prison escape by helicopter of two men earlier this year from a detention centre near Montreal.

The four, a 30-year-old woman, two brothers aged 25 and 26, and a 27-year-old suspect, were detained Wednesday and are scheduled to appear in court Thursday.

They are the latest people arrested in connection with the escape from the St-Jerome prison, which made international headlines in March.

A number of charges are expected, including forcible confinement and the use of a firearm while committing a crime.

The escape occurred March 17, when a young helicopter pilot picked up a pair of passengers for what was supposed to be a routine weekend flight over the north shore of Montreal.

Instead, plans for a peaceful Sunday excursion dissipated quickly, as the pilot allegedly found himself staring down the barrel of a .38-calibre handgun.

It was the beginning of a drama that saw a spectacular jailbreak and gunfight between police and fugitives, which caught media attention around the world.

The pilot was ordered to land on a tower above the provincial jail. Once there, his passengers pulled some rope out of a backpack and let it tumble out toward the ground level below.

And up came two inmates, springing out from the prison yard.

They flew for a few minutes, with the escaped prisoners dangling from the helicopter, and landed in an open field where they were able to hop aboard a car. From there, they flew toward a hotel in the Laurentians where the four passengers exited.

Authorities said Benjamin Hudon-Barbeau and Danny Provencal had broken out of the jail by clambering up a rope into a waiting helicopter. They were arrested within hours along with two alleged accomplices.

Geographic location: Laurentians

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