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The Globe and Mail

Helicopter escape from Quebec jail sparks manhunt for two fugitives

Quebec Provincial Police car

The Canadian Press

Two inmates in a Quebec prison made a daring helicopter escape Sunday afternoon, touching off a massive police manhunt.

The men clung to the helicopter's skids as it lifted off from the detention centre in St-Jerome Que., about 60 kilometres northwest of Montreal, according to the Quebec provincial police.

Officers responded to the escape shortly after 2 p.m.

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They found the getaway chopper 85 kilometres away in Mont-Tremblant. Only the pilot was inside. He has been taken to hospital where he will be questioned by investigators.

The two inmates remain at large.

Police have not named the duo, but one man identifying himself as Benjamin Hudon-Barbeau, called in to the TVA television network and an FM radio station following the prison break and said he was one of the escapees.

He said he was weary of prison and ready to die, according to the radio station.

Mr. Hudon-Barbeau denied being a Hells Angels member. He was imprisoned for six years on multiple weapons offences.

"It will end badly," he told the station. "I'll kill myself, I'm 36 years old, I was told that I would die in prison."

He told the station that another escapee, Danny Provencal, who was doing time for several break-ins, had accompanied him in the escape.

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The helicopter was reportedly hijacked from tour company Heli-Tremblant.

(More to come)

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About the Author
National reporter

Patrick previously worked in the Globe's Winnipeg bureau, covering the Prairies and Nunavut, and at Toronto City Hall. He is a National Magazine Award recipient and author of the book Mountie In Mukluks. More

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