RÉAU, FRANCE (CBSNewYork) – Thousands of police officers in Europe are on the hunt for one of France’s most notorious criminals.
Redoine Faid escaped prison Sunday in a scene that looked like something ripped from a Hollywood movie. The French gangster was airlifted by out of Sud-Francilien Prison near Paris by armed accomplices who landed a hijacked helicopter in the prison yard.
The daring escape began with heavily armed men taking a flight instructor hostage at a nearby flying club. They forced him to land at the only part of the prison that did not have anti-aircraft netting protecting it.
Armed with assault rifles, two masked men reportedly used smoke bombs and power tools to make their way to the facility’s visiting room, where Faid was supposed to be meeting his brother.
The getaway was over in less than ten minutes without a shot being fired.
French police found the chopper about 40 miles away, torched near a local highway. Faid and the hijackers also allegedly torched two getaway cars which were found after the escape.
Faid was serving a 25-year sentence for a botched robbery in which a young policewoman was killed; though the gangster claims he had nothing to do with her death.
France’s justice minister says investigators believe drones seen months ago buzzing above a prison may be linked to the high-flying escape.