French gangster uses helicopter to flee prison, manhunt under way

The helicopter was found burned in the town of Garges-les-Gonesse, in the northern suburbs of Paris. Investigators were questioning Faid's brother on Sunday afternoon.

The same year that the book came out, the Telegraph wrote, Faid was suspected of masterminding a botched armed robbery, in which a police officer was killed in a shootout.

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.

Two of the men reportedly burst into the visiting room while the third waited in the prison courtyard and watched over the helicopter pilot, a flying instructor whose chopper the men hijacked in a nearby airfield.

At a Paris film festival in April 2009, Faid approached Michael Mann, director of the 1995 gangster film "Heat" starring Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro, telling him: "You were my technical adviser". "It was certainly a very well-prepared [prison break]", French Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet said during a news conference Sunday outside the prison.

The helicopter was later found in a north-eastern suburb of the French capital, they said, adding that a police search has been launched across the entire Paris region.

Faid is believed to have fled by vehicle along with his accomplices.

In 2013, he became the country's most-wanted criminal after he blasted his way out of another prison using dynamite.


Redoine Faid staged a dramatic escape from a French prison using a helicopter.

Redoine Faid is believed to have fled with three armed accomplices after ditching the helicopter used in the prison escape.

He was caught and placed back in jail by the French authorities within six weeks.

Media reports said the pilot had been released and was not injured.

Faid, who has a cult following in the tough multi-ethnic suburbs outside Paris where he grew up, has made several television appearances.

Although he was sentenced to 30 years in prison for these activities, he was released on parole after 10 years.

This wasn't the first attempt of the 46-year-old to break out of prison.

He was arrested in 1998 after three years on the run in Switzerland and Israel, according to French media. She is set to appear on a French news program at 7:20 a.m. Monday, local time, to discuss the prison break.

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