Three escape Belgian jail in hijacked helicopter

BRUSSELS Fri Jul 24, 2009 1:39am IST

Rajalakshmi (C), 28, smiles after winning the Miss Wheelchair India beauty pageant in Mumbai November 26, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Miss Wheelchair India

Seven women from across India participated in the country's second wheelchair beauty pageant, which aims to open doors for the wheelchair-bound in modelling, film and television, according to organisers  Slideshow 

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.

Showbiz

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Jamini Roy

Jamini Roy

Photo Gallery – Bengali household name Jamini Roy’s paintings  Full Article 

Forever21 In India

Forever21 In India

Forever21 sets sights on Indian cities, but please hold the hot pants  Full Article 

Nazi Art Collection

Nazi Art Collection

Swiss museum publishes list of Nazi loot art trove  Full Article 

A Minute With

A Minute With

'Sunny' Charlie Day on oddballs, 'Horrible Bosses'  Full Article 

Arab Singer Dies

Arab Singer Dies

Lebanese singer Sabah dies at 87  Full Article 

Book Talk

Book Talk

Pack of Thieves? Convict-era Australia stacks the deck  Full Article 

Ferguson Impact

Ferguson Impact

Garth Brooks cancels TV appearances amid Ferguson unrest  Full Article 

Canada Sex Case

Canada Sex Case

Canadian celebrity radio host charged with sexual assault  Full Article 

Broadway in Cuba

Broadway in Cuba

Broadway finds a new stage in an old venue: Cuba  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

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