05/27/2013 19:25 EDT | Updated 07/27/2013 05:12 EDT

Convicted murderer escapes in Quebec

A man serving a life sentence for first-degree murder in a Quebec prison has escaped.

Jean-Pierre Duclos, 56, fled around 2 p.m. today while being escorted from the minimum security Ste-Anne-des-Plaines federal penitentiary to the Verdun Hospital for an unspecified medical condition.

“At this point in time we are working in collaboration with the police, a national warrant has been issued all across Canada and [Canada] Border Services has been advised,” said Serge Abergel, a spokesman for Correctional Service Canada.

Duclos had been serving a life sentence since 1992.

Abergel estimated there were only a few years left on his sentence.

He said inmates are usually placed in minimum-security prisons if and when they aren’t seen as a threat to society.

“Only those assessed as being low-risk to society are placed in minimum security,” Abergel said.

Four prisoners escaped from federal prisons in Quebec in 2012. There are about 5,000 federal inmates in the province.

“It’s obviously something that does not happen very often. It’s very difficult to escape a federal penitentiary,” said the spokesman.

Provincial police are helping in the search for Duclos, who is five-foot-seven, has greenish-blue eyes, light brown hair, and a scar on his right cheek.

He was not handcuffed while being escorted to hospital, nor was he wearing a prison uniform.