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Notorious French Criminal Breaks Free From Prison In Dramatic Helicopter Escape



A notorious French criminal has escaped from prison by helicopter, his second prison break in just over five years at around 11:30am on Sunday, the country’s prison authority has said.

A career criminal who was once France’s most-wanted man has made a spectacular escape from his prison in the Paris region with the help of 3 heavily-armed accomplices who used a helicopter to fly him out of the jail, Telegraph UK reports.

Redoine Faid was in the visiting room in Réau prison when the three men burst in on Sunday morning and extracted him with the help of a Belgium-registered helicopter that landed in one of the prison courtyards.

It was the second time Faid has pulled off a spectacular jailbreak – in 2013, he became the country’s most-wanted criminal after he blasted his way out of another prison using dynamite and briefly taking four wardens hostage before being recaptured six weeks later in a cheap hotel room.

He was currently serving 25 years in Réau prison for his part in a 2010 cash-transport van robbery which he masterminded.

The helicopter that extracted him on Sunday flew right across the Paris region, from the jail to the southeast of the capital, before being dumped not far from Charles de Gaulle airport to the northeast of the city.

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The aircraft was then set alight. Prison guards at Réau did not shoot at the helicopter for security reasons when it landed and took off from a courtyard there, Yoan Karar of the SNP-FO prison warden union told Le Parisien newspaper.

Reports said that after the helicopter was set on fire its occupants were seen fleeing in a black Renault Megane in the direction of the A1 motorway that links Paris to the northern city of Lille.

The helicopter, Alouette II, abandoned by French armed robber Redoine Faid after his escape from prison (Photo Credit: GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

The interior ministry said it had launched a guy major search operation for the fugitive and had alerted all police and gendarme units in the area and set up checkpoints that “take into account the dangerousness of the fugitive and his possible accomplices.”

There were no reports of injuries in the Réau jailbreak, and Faid is believed to be the only prisoner who escaped.

The 45-year-old robber was serving 25 years for his part in a 2010 hold-up of a cash-transport van in the Paris region which led to the death of a 26-year-old policewoman.

She was shot as the gang fled the scene of the robbery and used their kalashnikov assault rifles to fire at police cars pursuing them along the busy A4 motorway.

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Two members of the gang are currently serving lengthy jail sentences for her murder.

Faid published a book in 2010 in which claimed he had given up his life of crime.