Three escape Belgian jail in hijacked helicopter

BRUSSELS Fri Jul 24, 2009 1:39am IST

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, daughter of Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi, adjusts her flower garlands as she campaigns for her mother during an election meeting at Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh April 22, 2014. REUTERS/Pawan Kumar

Election 2014

More than 814 million people — a number larger than the population of Europe — are eligible to vote in the world’s biggest democratic exercise.  Full Coverage 

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Three prisoners escaped from a jail outside the Belgian city of Bruges in a hijacked helicopter on Thursday, authorities said.

Media reports said the escapees flew to the town of Aalter, then seized a black Mercedes from its female driver and robbed a service station before heading for the Belgian coast.

A Justice Ministry spokesman said no one had been hurt, and that the jailbreak had not been from the high-security wing, which had nets to prevent such escapes.

However, media said the escapees included one of Belgium's most dangerous criminals, Ashraf Sekkaki, who had more than 16 convictions for violence, including kidnappings for ransom.

The Belga news agency quoted the spokesman as saying that one of the accomplices who flew the helicopter into the jail had been left behind, perhaps because there was not enough room for all to get away in the helicopter.

Belga earlier reported that four prisoners had escaped.

It is not the first time a helicopter has been used for an escape in Belgium.

In October 2007, Nordin Benallal, a self-styled "escape king" with convictions for armed robbery and carjacking, broke out of Ittre prison south of Brussels after armed accomplices landed there in a hijacked helicopter.

The helicopter was immediately crowded by other prisoners and crashed. Benallal and his cohorts then seized two prison warders as hostages and fled in a car parked nearby. He was recaptured in the Netherlands three days later.

Earlier the same year, Frenchman Erik Ferdinand escaped in a hijacked helicopter from Lantin prison near Liege. He was arrested several weeks later in Italy.

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared



A Minute With

A Minute With

Sam Claflin on horror, heroes and 'Hunger Games'/  Full Article 

Bieber Sorry

Bieber Sorry

Justin Bieber apologises after Japan shrine visit sparks Asian anger.  Full Article 

Zeppelin Back

Zeppelin Back

Led Zeppelin is back with "Whole Lotta" unreleased tunes.  Full Article 

Online Streaming

Online Streaming

Amazon grabs rights to stream older HBO shows.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage