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As long as we have had prisons, we have had prison escapes. This is a list of the 10 most daring and amazing escapes from prison in history. This adds to our collection of crime related lists, such as tips for escaping the cops, tips for committing the perfect crime, and prison survival tips.

10. Maze Prison Escape

In the biggest prison escape in British history, on 25 September 1983 in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, 38 Irish Republican Army (IRA) prisoners, who had been convicted of offenses including murder and causing explosions, escaped from H-Block 7 (H7) of the prison. One prison officer died of a heart attack as a result of the escape and twenty others were injured, including two who were shot with guns that had been smuggled into the prison. HM Prison Maze was considered one of the most escape-proof prisons in Europe. In addition to 15-foot fences, each H-Block was encompassed by an 18-foot concrete wall topped with barbed wire, and all gates on the complex were made of solid steel and electronically operated. Shortly after 2:30, the prisoners took control of the H-block holding the prison guards hostage at gunpoint. Some of the prisoners took the guards clothing and car keys in order to help with their escape. At 3:25, a truck bringing food supplies arrived and the prisoners told the driver that he was going to help them escape. They tied his foot to the clutch and told him where to drive. At 3:50 the truck left the H-block, and soon after the prison, carrying all 38 men. Over the next few days, 19 escapees were caught. The remaining escapees were assisted by the IRA in finding hiding places. Some of the group ended up in the USA but were later found and extradited. Due to politics in Northern Ireland, none of the remaining escapees are being actively sought and some have been given amnesties. Note the wires strung across the yard in the picture above - this is to prevent helicopters from landing due to another escape attempt at Maze Prison.

9. Alfred Hinds

“Alfie” Hinds was a British criminal and escape artist who, while serving a 12 year prison sentence for robbery, successfully broke out of three high security prisons. Despite the dismissal of thirteen of his appeals to higher courts, he was eventually able to gain a pardon using his knowledge of the British legal system. After being sentenced to 12 years in prison for a jewelry robbery, Hinds escaped from Nottingham prison by sneaking through the locked doors and over a 20-foot prison wall for which he became known in the press as “Houdini” Hinds. After 6 months he was found and arrested. After his arrest, Hinds brought a lawsuit against authorities charging the prison commissioners with illegal arrest and successfully used the incident as a means to plan his next escape by having a padlock smuggled in to him while at the Law Courts. Two guards escorted him to the toilet, but when they removed his handcuffs Alfie bundled the men into the cubicle and snapped the padlock onto screw eyes that his accomplices had earlier fixed to the door. He escaped into the crowd on Fleet Street but was captured at an airport five hours later. Hinds would make his third escape from Chelmsford Prison less than a year later. While eluding Scotland Yard, Hinds continued to plead his innocence sending memorandums to British MPs and granting interviews and taped recordings to the press. He would continue to appeal his arrest and, following a technicality in which prison escapes are not listed as misdemeanors within British law, his final appeal before the House of Lords in 1960 was denied after a three hour argument by Hinds before his return to serve 6 years in Parkhurst Prison. Pictured above is Nottingham Prison - the first prison that Hinds escaped from.

8. The Texas Seven

The Texas 7 was a group of prisoners who escaped from the John Connally Unit near Kenedy, Texas on December 13, 2000. They were apprehended January 21-23, 2001 as a direct result of the television show America’s Most Wanted. On December 13, 2000, the seven carried out an elaborate scheme and escaped from the John B. Connally Unit, a maximum-security state prison near the South Texas town of Kenedy. Using several well-planned ploys, the seven convicts overpowered and restrained nine civilian maintenance supervisors, four correctional officers and three uninvolved inmates at approximately 11:20 a.m. The escape occurred during the slowest period of the day when there would be less surveillance of certain locations like the maintenance area — during lunch and at count time. Most of these plans involved one of the offenders calling someone over, while another hit the unsuspecting person on the head from behind. Once the victim was subdued, the offenders would remove some of his clothing, tie him up, gag him and place him in an electrical room behind a locked door. Eleven prison workers and three uninvolved inmates were bound and gagged. The attackers stole clothing, credit cards, and identification from their victims. The group also impersonated prison officers on the phone and created false stories to ward off suspicion from authorities. They eventually made their way to the prison maintenance pickup-truck which they used to escape from the prison grounds. The remaining 5 living members of the group are all on death row awaiting death by lethal injection. Of the other two, one committed suicide and one has already been executed.

7. Alfréd Wetzler

Wetzler was a Slovak Jew, and one of a very small number of Jews known to have escaped from the Auschwitz death camp during the Holocaust. Wetzler is known for the report that he and his fellow escapee, Rudolf Vrba, compiled about the inner workings of the Auschwitz camp - a ground plan of the camp, construction details of the gas chambers, crematoriums and, most convincingly, a label from a canister of Zyklon gas. The 32-page Vrba-Wetzler report, as it became known, was the first detailed report about Auschwitz to reach the West that the Allies regarded as credible. The evidence eventually led to the bombing of several government buildings in Hungary, killing Nazi officials who were instrumental in the railway deportations of Jews to Auschwitz. The deportations halted, saving up to 120,000 Hungarian Jews. Wetzler escaped with a fellow Jew named Rudolf Vrba. With the help of the camp underground, at 2 p.m. on Friday, April 7, 1944 — the eve of Passover — the two men climbed inside a hollowed-out hiding place in a wood pile that was being stored to build the “Mexico” section for the new arrivals. It was outside Birkenau’s barbed-wire inner perimeter, but inside an external perimeter the guards kept erected during the day. The other prisoners placed boards around the hollowed-out area to hide the men, then sprinkled the area with pungent Russian tobacco soaked in gasoline to fool the guards’ dogs. The two remained in hiding for 4 nights - to avoid recapture. On April 10, wearing Dutch suits, overcoats, and boots they had taken from the camp, they made their way south, walking parallel to the Soła river, heading for the Polish border with Slovakia 80 miles (133 km.) away, guiding themselves using a page from a child’s atlas that Vrba had found in the warehouse. You can read their report on Auschwitz here. [Wikipedia]

6. Sławomir Rawicz

Rawicz was a Polish soldier who was arrested by Soviet occupation troops after the German-Soviet invasion of Poland. When the Soviet Union and Germany took over Poland, Rawicz returned to Pińsk where NKVD arrested him on November 19, 1939. He was taken to Moscow. He was first sent to Kharkov for interrogation, and then after trial he was sent to the Lubyanka prison in Moscow. He claims to have successfully resisted all attempts to torture a confession out of him in prison. He was sentenced, ostensibly for spying, to 25 years of hard labor in a Siberian prison camp. He was transported, alongside thousands of others, to Irkutsk and made to walk to Camp 303, 650 km south of the Arctic Circle, to build the camp from the ground up. On 9 April 1941, Rawicz claimed that he and his six allies escaped in a middle of a blizzard. They rushed to the south, avoiding towns in fear they would be betrayed, but apparently they were not actively pursued. They also met an additional fugitive, Polish woman Krystyna. Nine days later they crossed the Lena River. They walked around Lake Baikal and crossed to Mongolia. Fortunately, people they encountered were friendly and hospitable. During the crossing of the Gobi desert, two of the group (Krystyna and Makowski) died. Others had to eat snakes to survive. Around October 1941 they claim to have reached Tibet. Locals were friendly, especially when men said they were trying to reach Lhasa. They crossed the Himalayas somehow in the middle of winter. Another of the group died in his sleep in the cold and one fell into a crevasse and disappeared. Rawicz claims the survivors reached India around March 1942. [Wikipedia]

5. Escape From Alcatraz

In its 29 years of operation, there were 14 attempts to escape from Alcatraz prison involving 34 inmates. Officially, every escape attempt failed, and most participants were either killed or quickly re-captured. However, the participants in the 1937 and 1962 attempts, though presumed dead, disappeared without a trace, giving rise to popular theories that they were successful. The most famous and intricate attempt to escape from Alcatraz (June 11, 1962) saw Frank Morris,and the Anglin brothers burrow out of their cells, climb to the top of the cell block, cut through bars to make it to the roof via an air vent. From there they climbed down a drain pipe, over a chain link fence and then to the shore where they assembled a pontoon-type raft and then vanished. The trio are believed to have drowned in the San Francisco Bay and are officially listed as missing and presumed drowned. However, they may have made it and gone to a place where people did not know them.

4. Libby Prison Escape

The Libby Prison Escape was one of the most famous (and successful) prison breaks during the American Civil War. Overnight between February 9 and 10, 1864, more than 100 imprisoned Union soldiers broke out of their prisoner of war building at Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia. Of the 109 escapees, 59 succeeded in reaching Union lines, 48 were recaptured, and 2 drowned in the nearby James River. Libby Prison encompassed an entire city block in Richmond. To the north lay Carey Street, connecting the prison area to the rest of the city. On the south side ran the James River. The prison itself stood three stories above ground with a basement exposed on the river side. Living conditions were extremely bad; the food, sometimes lacking altogether, was poor and sanitation practically nonexistent. Thousands died there. The prisoners managed to break in to the basement area known as “rat hell” which was no longer used due to rat infestations, and dig a tunnel. After 17 days of digging, they succeeded in breaking through to a 50-foot vacant lot on the eastern side of the prison, resurfacing beneath a tobacco shed inside the grounds of the nearby Kerr’s Warehouse. When Col. Rose finally broke through to the other side, he told his men that the “Underground Railroad to God’s Country was open!” The officers escaped the prison in groups of two and three on the night of February 9, 1864. Once within the tobacco shed, the men collected inside the walled warehouse yard and simply strolled out the front gate. The tunnel provided enough distance from the prison to stealthily subvert those jurisdictional lines and allow prisoners to slip into the dark streets unchallenged.

3. Pascal Payet

There can be no doubt that this man deserves a place on this list - he has escaped not once, but twice from high security prisons in France - each time via hijacked helicopter! He also helped organize the escape of three other prisoners - again with a helicopter. Payet was initially sentenced to a 30 year jail term for a murder committed during the robbery of a security van. After his first escape (in 2001) he was captured and given seven more years for his role in the 2003 escape. He then escaped from Grasse prison using a helicopter that was hijacked by four masked men from Cannes-Mandelieu airport. The helicopter landed some time later at Brignoles, 38 kilometres north-east of Toulon, France on the Mediterranean coast. Payet and his accomplices then fled the scene and the pilot was released unharmed. Payet was re-captured on September 21, 2007, in Mataró, Spain, about 18 miles northeast of Barcelona. He had undergone cosmetic surgery, but was still identified by Spanish police.

2. The Great Escape

Stalag Luft III was a German Air Force prisoner-of-war camp during World War II that housed captured air force personnel. In January 1943, Roger Bushell led a plot for a major escape from the camp. The plan was to dig three deep tunnels, codenamed “Tom,” “Dick,” and “Harry.” Each of the tunnel entrances was carefully selected to ensure they were undetectable by the camp guards. In order to keep the tunnels from being detected by the perimeter microphones, they were very deep — about 9 metres (30 ft) below the surface. The tunnels were very small, only two feet square (about 0.37 m²), though larger chambers were dug to house the air pump, a workshop, and staging posts along each tunnel. The sandy walls of the tunnels were shored up with pieces of wood scavenged from all over the camp. As the tunnels grew longer, a number of technical innovations made the job easier and safer. One important issue was ensuring that the person digging had enough oxygen to breathe and keep his lamps lit. A pump was built to push fresh air along the ducting into the tunnels. Later, electric lighting was installed and hooked into the camp’s electrical grid. The tunnellers also installed small rail car systems for moving sand more quickly, much like the systems used in old mining operations. The rails were key to moving 130 tons of material in a five-month period; they also reduced the time taken for tunnellers to reach the digging faces. “Harry” was finally ready in March 1944, but by that time the American prisoners, some of whom had worked extremely hard in all the effort to dig the tunnels, were moved to another compound. The prisoners had to wait about a week for a moonless night so that they could leave under the cover of complete darkness. Finally, on Friday, March 24, the escape attempt began. Unfortunately for the prisoners, the tunnel had come up short. It had been planned that the tunnel would reach into a nearby forest, but the first man out emerged just short of the tree line. Despite this, 76 men crawled through the tunnel to initial freedom, even through an air raid during which the camp’s (and the tunnel’s) electric lights were shut off. Finally, at 5 AM on March 25, the 77th man was seen emerging from the tunnel by one of the guards. Out of the 76 men only 3 evaded capture. Fifty men were killed and the rest were captured and sent back.

1. Colditz Escape

Colditz was one of the most famous German Army prisoner-of-war camps for officers in World War II. The camp was located in Colditz Castle, situated on a cliff overlooking the town of Colditz in Saxony. There were numerous successful attempts at escaping Colditz, but one in particular is the most interesting. In one of the most ambitious escape attempts from Colditz, the idea of building a glider was dreamt up by two British pilots, Jack Best and Bill Goldfinch, who had been sent to Colditz after escaping from another POW camp. The plan was to construct a two-man glider part by part. The glider was assembled by Bill Goldfinch and Jack Best in the lower attic above the chapel, and was to be launched from the roof in order to fly across the river Mulde, which was about 200 feet (60 m) below. The officers who took part in the project built a false wall, to hide the secret space in the attic where they slowly built the glider out of stolen pieces of wood. Since the Germans were accustomed to looking down for tunnels, not up for secret workshops, they felt rather safe from detection. Hundreds of ribs had to be constructed, predominantly formed from bed slats, but also from every other piece of wood the POW’s could surreptitiously obtain. The wing spars were constructed from floor boards. Control wires were made from electrical wiring in unused portions of the castle. A glider expert, Lorne Welch, was asked to review the stress diagrams and calculations made by Goldfinch. Although the Colditz Cock never flew in real life, a replica of the Colditz glider was built for the 2000 Channel 4 “Escape from Colditz” documentary, and was flown successfully by John Lee on its first attempt at RAF Odiham with Best and Goldfinch in tearful attendance. While Best and Goldfinch did not escape Colditz (the camp was relieved by the allies just as the glider was nearing completion), they certainly had the most interesting and innovative method for executing it.


10. 梅兹越狱

这次不列颠历史上最大的越狱发生在1983年9月25号北爱尔兰安特里姆郡,38名犯有谋杀及爆破罪的爱尔兰共和军(IRA)囚犯从该监狱的7号高度管制所(H7)中逃离。一位狱官死于这次越狱引发的心脏病,其余有20位受伤,其中两位是被走私入狱的枪支击中。梅兹皇家监狱被认为是欧洲最强防逃监狱之一。除有15英尺高的护栏外,每个高度管制所都被顶端装有刺网的18英尺混凝土高墙所包围,而且所有设施上的大门都是精钢打造的电动门。2:30刚过,逃犯就以枪口下的狱警为人质占领了高度管制所。为了方便潜逃,有的逃犯还夺走了狱警的衣服跟车钥匙。3:25时,一辆运输食物的卡车开进了管制所,逃犯于是要挟司机帮助他们潜逃。他们把司机的脚绑在离合器上并指使他驾驶。3:50时卡车载着全部38人离开了高度管制区,进而很快离开了监狱。在接下来的几天中,有 19名逃犯被捕。其余逃犯在寻找避难所时得到了IRA的帮助。一部分逃到了美国不过后来又被捉住并引渡回国。由于政策关系,北爱尔兰并未对余下的逃犯展开积极搜寻并且部分逃犯已经获得赦免。注意上图中越过场地悬挂起来的铁丝——自另一起尝试性越狱事件之后,这便被设置起来以防止直升机降落。

9. 阿尔弗雷德 辛兹



2000年12月13日,一组囚犯从肯尼迪镇附近的约翰科娜利分监狱逃脱,他们便是德州7恶。归功于电视剧《全美最高通缉》的直接作用,7恶于2001年 1月21日至23日之间全数被捕。2000年12月3日,7恶借由他们天衣无缝的策划从德州南部肯尼迪镇附近的州级最高保安监狱,约翰B.科娜利分监狱中顺利脱身。凌晨12:20左右,诡计多端的7恶便制服并监禁了9名平民维修组监工,4名监狱长官和3名无关狱友。越狱则发生在白天的午饭时间和点名时间这些最漫长的时段,因为此时维修区等处的监视较为松懈。在众多伎俩当中,最让7恶屡试不爽的一招是将受害者叫过来后再让另一个人从后方进行头部偷袭。一但压制住受害者,罪犯们便脱掉他外面的衣服,然后绑起来将嘴塞住再锁到一间电气室里。11名监狱工人和3名无关狱友经历了上诉遭遇。袭击者们抢走了受害者的衣物,信用卡及身份证。他们还在电话上装成监狱长官编造故事来避开当局的怀疑。7恶最后终于通过层层阻碍达上了监狱维修用的皮卡车逃出了监狱。这组人中尚存的5名成员如今都正在死囚牢房中等待接受致死注射。至于另外两名,一名走向了自杀,还有一名已被处决。

7. 阿尔弗雷德 伟兹勒

伟兹勒是一名斯洛伐克犹太人,同时也是已知的极少数在大屠杀时期成功逃出奥斯威辛死亡集中营的犹太人之一。有报告说伟兹勒和同他的一起潜逃的鲁道夫坲伯共同收集了关于奥斯威辛集中营内部结构的各种资料,包括集中营的平面图,毒气室跟火葬场的建筑细节,以及关于这些资料的可信度最具说服力的证据--一张从齐克隆毒气罐上取下来的标签。伟兹勒便是因为这件事而著名。这份被称为坲伯-伟兹勒报告书的32页资料集是第一份传到西方战线并取信于同盟国的关于奥斯威辛集中营的细节化报告。这些情报最终导致匈牙利境内数所政府建筑被炸,杀死了那些协助用铁路将犹太人放逐到奥斯威辛集中营的纳粹军官。放逐被迫停止, 120,000名匈牙利犹太人获救。同伟兹勒一起逃脱的还有他的犹太同胞鲁道夫坲伯。1944年4月7日星期五正好是逾越节前夕,当日下午两点,两名潜逃者在集中营地下组织的协助下钻进了一个在一堆木材中掏空的藏身点中,这些木材将被用来建造关押新来者用的“墨西哥”区。该藏身点位于比克瑙满布刺网的内部周边阵地之外,但外部周边阵地上的守卫整个白天都保持岿然看守。其他囚犯用木板盖住掏空的区域将两人隐藏起来,然后又将气味冲鼻的俄国烟草浸泡过汽油后洒到藏身点周围以糊弄守卫的狗。两人藏了整整4个晚上以防被捕。4月10号这天,他们穿上从集中营里拿走的荷兰外套、大衣和靴子,照着坲伯在仓库中找到的一本儿童地图册上撕下来的一页地图,顺着索拉河一路南下前往距斯洛伐克80英里(133公里)远的波兰边境。你可以在这里读到他们关于奥斯威辛集中营的报告。

6. 斯拉沃米尔 拉维奇

波兰士兵拉维奇在德苏侵略波兰之后遭苏联占领军逮捕。随着苏联和德国控制了波兰,拉维奇返回了平斯克,然后于1939年11月19日在当地被苏联秘密警察组织抓获。他被送往莫斯哥。先是被押送到哈尔科夫接受审问,随后经过审判被关进了莫斯哥的卢比安卡监狱。拉维奇声称自己在监狱中成功忍受住了所有严刑逼供。其后他被假借间谍罪判处了25年苦工,在西伯利亚的一个监狱营地中服刑。他和成千上万的其他囚犯一起被运到了伊尔库茨克然后被迫步行来到北极圈南面 650公里处的303营地,在这里将整个营地从地基开始修建。拉维奇声称他和其他六名伙伴于1941年4月9日趁着暴风雪逃离。他们迅速南下,避开城镇以防暴露,不过很显然并未遭到积极搜捕。途中遇到了另一名逃亡者,波兰女士克里斯蒂娜。9天后,他们渡过了莱娜河。绕着贝加尔湖,他们来到了蒙古。所幸的是遇到的人都很友善好客。在穿越戈壁滩途中,两人(克里斯蒂娜和马科夫斯基)不幸去世。其他人为生存被迫以蛇为食。他们称自己大约在1941年十月抵达了西藏。当地人相当地友好,尤其是当他们透露自己正试图前往拉萨时。他们设法在隆冬时节跨越了喜马拉雅山。其间一行人中又有一名在睡梦中死于严寒,另有一名跌入裂缝中销声匿迹。拉维奇称幸存者约于1942年3月抵达了印度。

5. 逃出亚卡拉


4. 利比越狱


3. 帕斯卡 佩埃特

此人毫无疑问地在这张列表上当享有一席之位--他绝非一次,而是两次从法国的高保安监狱中逃走--每次都是使用劫持来的直升机!他还出力组织了另外3名囚犯的逃离--还是用的直升机。最初,佩埃特因为抢劫押款车时犯下谋杀罪而被判处30年监禁。首度越狱(于2001年)之后他被重新抓获然后又因参与 2003年的越狱被加刑7年。他接下来又使用一架由四名面具男从戛纳曼得里尔机场劫持而来的直升机逃离了格拉斯监狱。直升机随后降落在位于地中海沿岸,法国城市土伦东北38公里处的布里格诺尔。佩埃特和他的同伙接着逃离了现场,驾驶员则被安全释放。佩埃特于2007年9月21日在西班牙巴塞罗那东北18英里处的马塔诺再度被捕。尽管接受了整容手术,他还是被西班牙警方给认了出来。

2. 大逃亡


1. 科迪兹越狱

在二战期间德军用以关押敌方军官的战俘营当中,科迪兹是最著名的几所之一。该营坐落于科迪兹城堡内,这座城堡则耸立在萨克森地区一座俯瞰科迪兹镇的悬崖边上。不少逃离科迪兹的尝试都获得过成功,但其中有一次却最为有趣。这次尝试名列科迪兹最雄心勃勃的几次逃狱之中。在企图逃离另一所战俘营之后,不列颠飞行员杰克贝斯特和比尔葛芬奇被遣送来到科迪兹,他们于是在这里提出了建造一架滑翔机的独特构想。计划是分步建造一架双人滑翔机。该机就由比尔葛芬奇和杰克贝斯特在一所小教堂上方的低层阁楼中组装出来,然后预计在屋顶起飞以便掠过下方200英尺(60米)处的幕尔德河。参与这个项目的军官们在阁楼上建造了一堵假墙来隐藏后方的秘密工作点,他们便在其中用偷来的木材缓慢地将滑翔机修建起来。鉴于德国人习惯向下搜寻隧道,而不是向上搜寻秘密车间,军官们都感到远离了被查出的危险。成百上千条肋材需要拼装,这些肋材主要来自床板,但也来自战俘们所能偷取的每根木头。翼梁是用地板做的。控制线是用从城堡搁置区弄来的电线做的。一位滑翔机专家,罗恩威尔奇,被叫来检查压力图示而葛芬奇则负责计算。尽管这只科迪兹雄鸡从未在现实生活中起飞,它的一架仿制品却因2000年4 频道播放的纪录片《逃离科迪兹》而问世,并且在贝斯特和葛芬奇热泪盈眶的观望下,由李约翰驾驶,在奥迪厄姆英国皇家空军基地中首次试飞便取得了成功。其实贝斯特和葛芬奇并未从科迪兹逃走(就在滑翔机即将竣工之时,盟军解放了集中营),但是他们无疑想出了最新颖有趣的方式来上演这出越狱大戏。