13 amazing prison escapes

A prison is a place that people go when they break the law. The purpose is to take their freedom away so that they will think twice about breaking the law again. But some people never learn and don’t like being in prison that much. Here are 13 of the most amazing prison escapes ever.

The Maze Prison Escape

On September 25th, 1983 The Maze Prison, or Long Kesh, saw the biggest prison escape in British history. 38 IRA prisoners staged a massive breakout from what was considered to be the most secure prison in Europe. The escape had been planned for months. Six handguns had been smuggled into the prison and the officers were taken hostage. One officer was shot in the head by Gerry Kelly and survived. Officer James Ferris was stabbed in the chest three times as he tried to raise the alarm. The prisoners escaped in a lorry and hijacked vehicles. 15 escapees were caught on the first day.

The Texas Seven

On 13th December 2000, a group of prisoners escaped from the John Connally Unit in Texas. The group was made up of seven convicts who were serving jail time with a minimum of 30 years. They planned their escape to take place on the slowest part of the day and overpowered several workers and officers. After they changed clothes and pretended to fit videos monitors, they drove a maintenance truck out of the prison gates. They were later caught after they were shown on America’s Most Wanted after being on the loose for a month.

Escape from the Death Camp

Alfred Wetzler and Rudolf Vrba were two Jewish men who were held as prisoners in the Auschwitz death camp during World War 2. They are only two of a small number of people who successfully escaped from a concentration camp. They were placed in the camp in 1942 and escaped in 1944 after hiding in a woodpile. The wood had been soaked with petrol to fool the dogs as they hid there for four days. Once the two men had found safety, they wrote a report on what was happening in the death camps. This information lead to successful allied bombings.

American Gangster

John Dillinger was a bank robber during the Depression in America. He was arrested after a string of bank robberies and was sent to Crown Point Jail in March 1934. The police officers boasted that this jail was escape-proof because of the mixture of police officers and federal agents guarding it. Dillinger made a fake gun out of a piece of wood (although some say it was a bar of soap) and used it to force his way out of the jailhouse. This would be his second escape from prison. He then went on to rob more banks before being shot by agents four months later.

Escape from Alcatraz

This maximum security prison is in the San Francisco Bay on Alcatraz Island. There have been rumoured reports of inmates attempting to escape but there is the only one which may have any truth. In 1962, three inmates made drills from equipment stolen from the kitchen. They dug a hole out of the walls and climbed up to the roof. They had made a small raft out of raincoats and planted decoy heads in their beds made from rubbish. The men were never caught or found and it is thought that they drowned in the bay.

The Cuban

Joanne Chesimard, aka Assata Shakur, had very little to do with her escape from prison in 1979. She was a member of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army and had a list of criminal offences against her. In 1977 she was convicted of shooting and killing a state trooper. On 2nd November 1979, three members of the Black Liberation Army walked into Clinton Correctional Facility and pulled out automatic weapons. They demanded a van and drove out through the fence. Since 1984 Shakur has been living Cuba and made the FBI’s Most Wanted List in 2014.


Escape From Hell

In 1943 at the Sobibór extermination camp in Poland, the prisoners decided to revolt. During the night of 14th October, two prisoners killed 11 Nazi officers and took control of the armoury. The plan was to take the camp completely and walk out the front gates but the killings were spotted. As other members of the guard tried to restore order, the prisoners tried to escape. Over 600 people climbed the fences and tried to hide. Around half of the prisoners were killed by gunfire or by mines outside the fences. There were only 58 survivors who made it to safety.

The Great Escape

This famous movie was based on a true story about a Prisoner of War camp in World War 2. At the Stalag Luft II camp, members of the Royal Air Force were held captive. In 1943 Roger Bushnell of the RAF came up with a plan to get over 200 men out of the camp. Over 600 men dug three tunnels, nicknamed Tom, Dick and Harry to get the men out of the camp. On March 24th, 1944, the men used the tunnel Harry to escape from the camp. Only 70 men made it out of the camp because of the bad weather and snow.

Vietnam Vet

On February 1st, 1966 an American plane was shot down during the Vietnam War. Dieter Dengler was held in a Prisoner of War Camp. After months of torture, Dengler knew he had to escape after he heard the guards talking about shooting them. The prisoners attacked the guards when they put their guns down to eat lunch. They then headed out to the jungle, For 23 days Dengler searched the jungle, looking to be rescued before he was found. Of the seven people who escaped the camp, Dengler was the only who survived.

The French Hijacker

Pascal Payet has become notorious for his escape attempts using helicopters. He was arrested in 1999 for murder. He had killed a guard in a robbery gone wrong. His first escape was in 2001 using a hijacked helicopter. He then went on free other criminals with the same method. When he was captured and imprisoned again, he would break out again. Every time he had help from his friends and a helicopter. He was caught again in 2007 and has remained in jail since then. He is being held in an undisclosed location because of the help he had in the past. The French authorities are leaving nothing to chance with him and he is under constant supervision.

The Yoga Master

Choi Gap-bok was arrested in South Korea on suspicion of burglary in 2012. He had practised yoga for 23 years and was a smaller than the average man. One day, he asked the guards to bring him some ointment to his cell. The guards left him alone and he covered his body with the cream. After that, it took him approximately 34 seconds to slip out of his cell. He was able to fit his entire body through the slot in the door where meals are passed through. The 50-year-old was caught six days later and given a cell with a smaller food slot.

The original escape artist

Jack Sheppard was a London criminal in 1720. He was arrested for burglary and sent to jail. He broke through the ceiling of the jail and escaped using knotted bedclothes down the side of the building. He was captured and escaped a total of four times before he was finally caught for good. His final arrest happened after he had broken into a pawn shop and stolen a number of items. These included a black suit and a diamond ring. He drank himself stupid afterwards and was arrested the following morning. When he was sent to the gallows, his friends had planned to steal his body and get him revived. But he had become famous that the crowds stopped them from getting his body.

The Con Artist who could

Frank Abagnale is famous for his impressive cons. Between the ages of 15 and 21 years old he became a cheque forger and impostor. After he was caught and deported back to the United States he made several attempts to escape custody. In April 1971 he pretended to be an undercover prison inspector after his detention papers where lost. With the help of a friend, he was able to arrange a “meeting” with his supervisor. The meeting was fake and Abagnale walked out of prison. He was planning on heading to Brazil when he was picked up by two NYPD officers two weeks later.

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