French gangster makes dramatic helicopter escape from prison

French gangster makes dramatic helicopter escape from prison

A manhunt is underway in France for one of the country's most notorious gangsters who made a daring escape from prison in a helicopter yesterday.

Redoine Faid, 46, broke out of the prison in Reau in the city's south-eastern suburbs within minutes, helped by a number of heavily armed men, sources close to the case said.

Redoine Faid, probably the most notorious French gangster, has escaped jail for the 2nd time, this time in a helicopter.

Incredibly, it's not the first time Faid has been involved in a spectacular jailbreak.

He was serving prison for a time duration of 25-years for a failed robbery in which a police officer was killed.

The helicopter was set afire and found by police hours later, a source told the paper.

Faid has been behind bars since mid-2011 for breaking the terms of his parole over past convictions for bank robberies and brazen heists of cash-in-transit vehicles.

Officials said drones seen buzzing above the prison months ago may have been on a reconnaissance mission ahead of the escape.


Faid's accomplices hijacked a helicopter from a flight school on Sunday morning and forced the terrified instructor to take them to the prison, where the aircraft hovered above the yard.

"Redoine Faid is someone who has freedom in his DNA".

Police tracked him down in the suburbs of Paris and arrested him at the end of the following May.

He spent years as an global fugitive before his capture, and then a decade in prison, and then wrote an autobiography after his release on parole in 2009.

That same year, he wrote a book describing growing up in Paris's notoriously crime-ridden suburbs and starting his life of delinquency.

Faid was a fan of Robert De Niro, Michael Mann and Steve McQueen, according to Frederic Ploquin, who met him several times while researching a book about the French underworld.

The prison courtyard it landed in was the only one not fitted with anti-helicopter nets as it is used by inmates exclusively when they are being admitted to or released from the jail. One of his prison supervisors said that Faid had never had any conflict with staff, "but we must always be wary". "Behind all his manners - he is very polite - he always hid his game".

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