UPDATE: Quebec police have inmates in custody, after dramatic jailbreak
Two prisoners and two suspected accomplices will appear in court today after a daring jail escape yesterday north of Montreal.
As a helicopter hovered over the jail in Saint-Jerome, ropes were thrown down and two prisoners climbed up to freedom, but that didn't last long.
Police swarmed into the area and arrested one inmate, 36-year-old Benjamin Hudon-Barbeau, about six hours after the brazen daylight escape.
Two suspects were also arrested in the Chertsey area north of Saint-Jerome.
The second inmate, 33-year-old Danny Provencal eluded police until he was spotted in what police say was a sugar-shack type of structure. The building was surrounded and Provencal eventually surrendered peacefully and taken into custody.
All four suspects face a series of unspecified charges.
Police say the helicopter pilot was treated for shock and they don't yet know what if any role he may have played in the escape.
Earlier on Sunday, authorities had said 36-year-old Hudon-Barbeau and 33-year-old Provencal had broken out of the jail by clambering up a rope into a waiting helicopter.
``The suspects just took the rope in their hands and started fleeing,'' Richard recalled the jail's warden saying. Police had tracked down the helicopter about 85 kilometres away in Mont-Tremblant, but only the chopper's pilot was still at the
The pilot was taken to an area hospital where investigators were expected to speak with him. Police said it was too early to know what role the pilot had played in the escape.
Hours after the jailbreak, a Montreal radio station, 98.5 FM, received a call from a man claiming to be Hudon-Barbeau, who said he was ``ready to die'' as he tried to evade police. ``The way they're treating me in there, it's unreal,'' the man told the radio station. ``They won't let me be. They put me back in prison for nothing.''
Authorities did not immediately speak to the claims made in the radio station interview.
Hudon-Barbeau was arrested in November in connection with a double murder in the Laurentians. According to a provincial police release, he was arrested on two-firearm related charges and associating with people who have a criminal record.
Yves Galarneau, the correctional services manager who oversees the Saint-Jerome jail said he'd never seen anything like the dramatic escape in more than three decades on the job. Galarneau said there are no security measures in place at the jail to prevent a helicopter from swooping down from above.
The facility at the centre of Sunday's escapade in Quebec is a provincial detention centre with a maximum-security wing. The Saint-Jerome jail, located some 60 kilometres northwest of Montreal, experienced a mini-riot by about a dozen prisoners a little over a month ago.
In that incident, police had been asked to secure the outside of the prison, which holds about 480 inmates, and facility staff used pepper spray to disperse the mob.
(The Canadian Press)