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Thu, Apr 19, 2007

Hijacked Helo Used In Belgian Jailbreak

Two-Time Escapee Goes For Hat Trick

Two men hijacked a helicopter on Sunday, and forced the pilot to land in a prison yard. There, they picked up a French prisoner in a dramatic jailbreak.

Posing as tourists from Marseilles, France, the hijackers hired a helicopter from an airstrip near the prison. The helicopter took off, and within minutes, the accomplices produced a pistol and hand grenade, ordering the pilot, Eric Mathieu, to land at Lantin Prison outside nearby Liege.

"They pointed a revolver at my forehead," Mathieu told RTBF television. "The prison yard was so small, at first I refused to land there, but they threatened to kill me, so I had to do it."

Mathieu said after he touched down, one of nearly 200 prisoners exercising in the yard, climbed on board while his partners in crime threw tear gas canisters into the crowd. The helicopter took off again and landed about half a mile from the prison, where the prisoner and his collaborators drove away in waiting car.

RTL-TVI identified the fugitive as Frenchman Eric Ferdinand, who had previously escaped from prisons in both France and Spain.

FMI: Another Helo Jailbreak

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