NEWS

Quebec fugitive surrounded after helicopter jail escape

03/17/2013 06:15 EDT | Updated 05/17/2013 05:12 EDT
Quebec provincial police say they've surrounded the remaining inmate at large who pulled off a brazen daylight helicopter escape from a Saint-Jérôme, Que., jail on Sunday afternoon

Danny Provençal, 33, and Benjamin Hudon-Barbeau, 36, escaped from the facility northwest of Montreal at around 2:30 ET by climbing on board a helicopter with the help of a rope.

The jail's warden told police that Hudon-Barbeau and Provençal had grabbed a rope dropped from the helicopter to make their getaway, said Sgt. Benoit Richard.

Police located the chopper at around 3:30 p.m. in the Mont-Tremblant area, but only the pilot remained.

Police later arrested Hudon-Barbeau and two other suspects 50 kilometres north of Saint-Jérôme. Hudon-Barbeau is alleged by police to have ties to the Hells Angels, Radio-Canada reported.

Police said the pilot was taken to an area hospital to be treated for shock.

"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.

'Ready to die'

A Montreal radio station, 98.5 FM, 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.

A little over a month ago, the Saint-Jérôme detention centre experienced a mini-riot by about a dozen prisoners.

- RELATED: Prisoners riot at Saint-Jérôme detention centre

In that incident, police had been asked to secure the outside of the prison, which holds about 480 inmates, and facility staff used pepper spray to disperse the mob.

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