Two inmates make daring escape from Quebec prison in helicopter

SAINT-JEROME, Quebec (AP) - Two Quebec inmates used a helicopter to make a daring daylight escape from a prison northwest of Montreal and remained at large Sunday evening, authorities said.

Police received a call from the staff at the prison in Saint-Jerome, Quebec, regarding the dramatic escape around 2:20 p.m., said Quebec provincial police Sgt. Benoit Richard.

He didn't say if the helicopter had landed on the prison grounds and wouldn't provide further details about the escape. He said the pilot was taken to a local hospital.

Quebec provincial police tracked down the helicopter on Sunday afternoon in Mont-Tremblant, about 85 kilometers away from the prison, but only the chopper's pilot was still at the scene.

"He's going to be questioned later on by investigators, within the next couple of hours," Richard said, adding that it's too early to say what the pilot's role was in the escape.

Richard said authorities were still searching for the escaped prisoners, identified as Benjamin Hudon-Barbeau, 36, and Danny Provencal, 33, on Sunday evening.

A Montreal radio station, 98.5 FM, received a call Sunday from a man claiming to be Hudon-Barbeau, who said he was "ready to die" as he tried to evade police.

The Saint-Jerome prison, located about 60 kilometers northwest of Montreal, experienced a mini-riot by about a dozen prisoners a little over a month ago.

In that incident, police were called in to secure the outside of the prison, which holds about 480 inmates, and prison staff used pepper spray to disperse the mob.

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