Prison escapes: 10 breakouts no one expected

Credit: Tiero/iStock

6/ 76 person prison breakout in Stalag Luft III, Poland

During the Second World War Canadian pilots were imprisoned in a prisoner of war camp supervised by the German air force.  However a group of prisoners so-called “Comity X” managed to dig a tunnel under the camp to escape.  The tunnel was 10 metres deep and 111 metres long. Altogether 76 soldiers managed to escape.  Unfortunately only 3 of them managed to avoid being caught.  The incredible breakout story inspired the film The Great Escape.

Prison escapes
Credit: The Great Escape (original poster)

7/ Alcatraz breakout, United States

This famous prison which is reputed for it’s impregnability wasn’t as well guarded as all that.  Although there were many escape attempts, the most well-known is by the Morris Brothers, Anglin and Frank in 1962.  With the help of toilet paper, hair and toothpaste, they managed to make dummies that they placed under their bed to make it look like they were sleeping.  By digging a hole in their wall they managed to reach a service tunnel and escape.  Some believe that they are dead while others firmly believe that they manged to make it across the water.  Whatever the case, this breakout is proof that no prison is completely impenetrable…

Credits: BKD/Pixavay

8/ Breakout from Luynes Prison in France

Luynes prison in France has witnessed several successful breakouts.  In 2001 Pascal Payet and Frédéric Impocco managed to escape in 2001 thanks to a helicopter! Two years later Eric Alboreo and Michel Valero flew to freedom… with the help of Pascal Payet!  However Payet was sent to a solitary confinement cell in Grasse as a result.  However, in quite the turn of events, his friends come to his rescue again… by helicopter!  Unluckily Payet was caught again in Spain and now lives in a secretly guarded detention centre.

Credits: Mduman1997/Pixabay

9/ Escapees from the Health prison in Paris

There have been three successful escape attempts from this Parisian prison.  In 1927, Léon Daudet and Joseph Delest managed to transfer a false order for release to the director and were able to escape. The famous assassin Jacques Mesrine escaped in 1978 with two men but one was killed during the breakout.  Lastly Nadine Vaujour helped her husband Michel Vaujour to escape with a helicopter!

10/ Libby Prison Escape, United States

Between 1861 and 1865, Civil War raged between the United States of America and the Confederate States of America. The conditions of prisoners were particularly atrocious in this Virginia jail. However in February 1864, 109 inmates managed to escape led by Colonel Thomas E. Rose.  They dug a 15 meter long tunnel to an empty warehouse. The alarm did not sound before 12 o’clock, which gave plenty time for the 109 prisoners to make a run for it!

Libby Prison
Credits: Libby Prison/New York Public Library

Prison escapes that have been adapted into films.


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