MONTREAL – The search widened Sunday for three inmates who escaped with the help of a helicopter from a detention center in Quebec City a day earlier.
It was the second helicopter-aided inmate escape in Quebec province in two years.
The three men escaped from the Orsainville Detention Centre in suburban Quebec City around 7:45 p.m. Saturday with the help of a green helicopter.
The chopper landed in the courtyard of the detention center, which has barbed-wire fencing and a watch post, and then quickly took off with the three inmates, heading west toward Trois-Rivieres or Montreal, police said.
Authorities were put on alert across Quebec, in the rest of Canada, and in the United States, according to provincial police.
Police were reluctant to provide many details about their investigation for fear the escapees could be monitoring media reports.
The escapees – identified as Yves Denis, 35, Denis Lefebvre, 53, and Serge Pomerleau, 49 – were originally arrested on drug trafficking and charges in 2010, according to police. Denis and Lefebvre were subsequently charged with murder, according to the Quebec provincial police website.
In March of last year, a helicopter pilot was forced at gunpoint to pluck two inmates from the St-Jerome prison.
Police caught the two escapees and the two suspects who hijacked the helicopter within a few hours of the escape.