Brazil prison set on fire, inmates flee

About two hundred inmates escaped from the Prof. Noe de Azevedo prison in Bauru, Brazil on Tuesday after inmates apparently set the building on fire, according to police.VIDEO: REUTERS

BAURU, BRAZIL (REUTERS) - About 200 inmates escaped from the Prof. Noe de Azevedo prison in Bauru 349km from Sao Paulo on Tuesday (Jan 24), according to Brazil's military police operations centre.

Aerial images showed heavy smoke coming from the facility which was apparently set on fire by inmates.

The riot began at around 8am, authorities said, and the prisoners took advantage of the confusion to escape.

Prison authorities said the situation was under control by 11.45am while police confirmed at least 79 inmates had been recaptured.

The prison was designed to hold 1,124 inmates was over capacity with 1,427 prisoners.

According to official data, more than 622,000 adults are behind bars in Brazil, 67 per cent more than the prisons were built to hold.

Since Jan 1, over 160 prisoners have been killed in a wave of deadly gang clashes across Brazil's overcrowded prisons.