A list of notable helicopter prison breaks since 1996.
_ Dec 30, 1996, Santiago, Chile: Four leftist guerrillas escape from a high-security prison by jumping into a large basket dangling from a helicopter and flying away amid gunfire.
_ March 25, 1999, Sydney, Australia: Russian-born Lucy Dudko rents a helicopter for an alleged sightseeing trip then forces the pilot at gunpoint to land at Australia's largest maximum security prison to pick up her lover, convicted armed robber John Reginald Killick. The pair are later recaptured.
_ Jan 17, 2002, Sao Paulo, Brazil: A helicopter swoops into the prison yard of a Sao Paulo penitentiary and quickly flies away with two inmates. It was found later in an empty soccer field 30 miles (50 kilometers) away.
_ Dec 30, 2002, Ponce, Puerto Rico: Five convicted murderers escape the maximum-security Las Cucharas prison using a helicopter hijacked by two gunmen. All but one of the fugitives are recaptured.
_ Dec. 10, 2005, Grenoble, France: Three French convicts escape from a jail in the French Alps on a helicopter hijacked by armed accomplices.
_ June 4, 2006, Athens: Convicts Vassilis Paleokostas and Alket Rizaj stage their first escape by helicopter from Athens' Korydallos prison, masterminded by elder brother Nikos Paleokostas, himself a convicted criminal. Rizaj was recaptured in September 2006 and Paleokostas in August 2008.
_ July 15, 2007, Toulon, France: Convicted killer Pascal Payet makes a bold prison break by helicopter from Grasse prison southeast France. It was the second time he used a helicopter to escape prison in six years. Payet was arrested in Spain several months later.
_ Oct. 31, 2007, Ittre, Belgium: Belgian gangster Nordin Benallal, dubbed "The Eel" for his skill at escaping, breaks out of Ittre prison even though his getaway helicopter crashes. He is arrested in the Netherlands two days later.
_ Feb 22, 2009, Athens: Paleokostas and Rizaj stage their second escape by helicopter from same Korydallos prison in Athens amid a gunbattle. Helicopter is found abandoned near a highway north of Athens.
Source: AP News