Photo: Moyan Brenn
Unspeakable Times

Helicopter Prison Escapes List

Alby Thompson
14k views 30 items
A list of memorable prison escapes when the inmate and those aiding them used a helicopter as part of the getaway plan. Often, helicopters are used when planning prison breaks, as their ability to take off vertically makes them perfect for getting in and out of a penitentiary area quickly. The list contains notable escapes from prisons, jails, correctional facilities and penitentiaries around the world, listed in chronological order.

The earliest helicopter prison break on the list dates back to August of 1971, when a man named Joel David Kaplan managed to get away from Mexico's Santa Martha Acatitla prison in a helicopter. Kaplan not only succeeded in getting away, but escaped to Guatemala permanently and later wrote a book about his experience.

A number of books, TV shows and films have included daring prison escapes involving helicopters. These include "Breakout" (loosely based on the Kaplan case), "Spy Game" and the TV series "Prison Break."
1
Santa Martha Acatitla is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Helicopter Prison Escapes List
Santa Martha Acatitla
August 19, 1971 in Mexico. Escapee Joel David Kaplan. Successful.
2
Mountjoy Jail is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Helicopter Prison Escapes List
Mountjoy Jail
October 31, 1973 in Ireland. Escapees JB O'Hagan, Seamus Twomey and Kevin Mallon. Successful.
3
United States Penitentia... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Helicopter Prison Escapes List
Illinois, USA
May 24, 1978 in United States. Escapees Garrett Brock Trapnell, Martin Joseph McNally and James Kenneth Johnson. Failed.
4
Pentridge (HM Prison) is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Helicopter Prison Escapes List
Pentridge (HM Prison)
January, 1983 in Australia. Escapee David McMillan. Failed.
5
Perry Correctional Insti... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Helicopter Prison Escapes List
Perry Correctional Institution, Pelzer, South Carolina
December 19, 1985 in United States. Successful.
6
Prison de la Santé... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Helicopter Prison Escapes List
Prison de la Santé
May 26, 1986 in France. Escapee Michel Vaujour. Successful.
7
Federal Correctional Ins... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Helicopter Prison Escapes List
California, USA
November 5, 1986 in United States. Escapee Samantha Lopez. Successful.
8
Prigione di Rebibbia, Ro... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Helicopter Prison Escapes List
Prigione di Rebibbia, Roma
November 23, 1986 in Italy. Escapees François Besse, Jean-Claude Myszka and André Bellaïche. Successful.
9
Gartree (HM Prison) is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Helicopter Prison Escapes List
Gartree (HM Prison)
December 10, 1987 in United Kingdom. Escapees Sydney Draper and John Kendall. Successful.
10
Federal Holding Facility... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Helicopter Prison Escapes List
Federal Holding Facility, Miami, FL
April 17, 1989 in United States. Escapee Ben Kramer. Failed.
11
Arkansas Valley Correcti... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Helicopter Prison Escapes List
Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility
August 19, 1989 in United States. Escapees Ralph Brown and Freddie Gonzales. Successful.
12
Rio Piedras State Penite... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Helicopter Prison Escapes List
Rio Piedras State Penitentiary, Puerto Rico
1991 in United States. Escapee William Lane. Successful.
13
Lyon Prison is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Helicopter Prison Escapes List
Lyon Prison
1992 and 2000 in France. Both successful.
14
Touraine Central Prison,... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Helicopter Prison Escapes List
Touraine Central Prison, Tours
December 1992 in France. Failed.
June 17, 1993 in France. Escapee Michel Vaujour. Failed.
15
De Geerhorst jail is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Helicopter Prison Escapes List
De Geerhorst jail
September 18, 1997 in Netherlands. Failed.
16
Metropolitan Remand and ... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Helicopter Prison Escapes List
Metropolitan Remand and Reception Centre
March 25, 1999 in Australia. Escapee John Killick. Successful.
17
Martin Treatment Center ... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Helicopter Prison Escapes List
Martin Treatment Center for Sexually Violent Predators, Martin County Florida
June 5, 2000 in United States. Escapee Steven Whitsett. Successful.
18
Luynnes prison is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Helicopter Prison Escapes List
Luynnes prison
2001 in France. Escapee Pascal Payet. Successful.
2003 in France. Escapees Eric Alboreo, Franck Perletto and Michel Valero. Successful.
19
Draguignan prison is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Helicopter Prison Escapes List
Draguignan prison
March 24, 2001 in France. Escapees Abdelhamid Carnous, Emile Forma-Sari and Jean-Philippe Lecase. Successful.
20
Fresnes Prison is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Helicopter Prison Escapes List
Fresnes Prison Val-de-Marne, France
May 28, 2001 in France. Failed.
21
Parada Neto Penitentiary... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Helicopter Prison Escapes List
Parada Neto Penitentiary
January 17, 2002 in Brazil. Successful.
22
Las Cucharas prison, Pue... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Helicopter Prison Escapes List
Las Cucharas prison, Puerto Rico
December 30, 2002 in United States. Escapees Orlando Cartagena, Jose Rodriguez, Victor Diaz, Hector Diaz and Jose Tapia. Successful.
23
France is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Helicopter Prison Escapes List
Europe
July 2005 in France. Failed.
24
Aiton Prison is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Helicopter Prison Escapes List
Aiton Prison
December 10, 2005 in France. Successful.
25
Korydallos Prison is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Helicopter Prison Escapes List
Korydallos Prison
June 6, 2006 in Greece. Escapee Vassilis Paleokostas. Successful.
February 22, 2009 in Greece. Escapees Vasilis Paleokostas and Alket Rizai. Successful.