News & Opinion | July 2, 2018 10:27 am

French Gangster Escapes Prison Again, This Time on Hijacked Helicopter

Notorious bank-robber Redoine Faid escaped prison five years ago using contraband explosives.

Redoine Faid
This picture taken on July 1, 2018 in Gonesse, north of Paris shows police near a French helicopter Alouette II abandoned by French armed robber Redoine Faid after his escape from prison in Reau. (GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images

A notorious French criminal who led a gang known for robbing banks has once again escaped from prison. Five years ago, Redoine Faid was incarcerated but broke out using explosives hidden in a pack of tissues. This time, Faid had help from armed friends, smoke grenades, and a hijacked helicopter. Faid was serving a 25-year sentence for planning a robbery where a police officer was killed.

On Sunday, two or three men armed with assault rifles hijacked a helicopter and forced the pilot to fly to the prison where Faid was being held. The two men forced open the prison door using a grinding tool and took Faid. At the time, he was meeting with his brother in a visitation room, according to USA Today. The men set off smoke bombs to obscure video surveillance as they made their getaway.

According to BBC, French Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet, who travelled to the Sud-Francilien prison in Réau on Sunday evening, called it “a spectacular escape.”