Jail breaks from helicopter heist to ‘Korean Houdini’ as terror suspect absconds

Prisons are supposed to be among the most secure places on earth with high-security walls, bars and fences meant to keep inmates locked in and under duress for the totality of their sentence.

But, as terror suspect Daniel Abed Khalife, 22, proved, it is possible to escape, after he absconded from HMP Wandsworth on Wednesday morning (September 6).

And as if from a Hollywood movie storyline, the former soldier slipped out of a kitchen in the prison and strapped himself to the underside of a food delivery van as it drove him to freedom.

But there are even crazier ways prisoners have escaped the nick over the years, including by using helicopters, food, yoga and women's clothes.

The escape from Alcatraz

One of the most famous jail breaks in history saw three prisoners escape the maximum-security prison Alcatraz on June 11 1962.

The institution, based on an island off the coast of San Francisco in the US, had been dubbed the “ultimate maximum security prison”.

But its reputation was left shattered after brothers John and Clarence Anglin, along with Frank Lee Morris, escaped by digging a tunnel through a concrete wall with sharpened spoons.

They left paper mache dummies in their beds and floated away on a raft made from more than 50 stolen raincoats, wi

Federal officials say they drowned – but their bodies have never been found, sparking suspicions they survived.

Their tale was turned into the 1979 film Escape from Alcatraz, starring Clint Eastwood.

The nectarine ‘grenades’

Michel Vaujour was serving a term for attempted murder and armed robbery in Paris, France when his wife helped him break free using fruit.

He painted nectarines to look like grenades, which he used to force his way onto the prison’s roof.

His wife Nadine Vaujour picked him up from there in a helicopter and landed in a football field, which they quickly drove away from.

But she was caught and arrested in France, while he was shot during a failed bank robbery – although he survived.

The yoga master

Convicted robber and yoga master Choi Gab-bok managed to slip out of a food slot in his prison cell in Daegu, South Korea in 2012.

He rubbed ointment over himself to slide through the slot, which was just 18inches wide and 6inches tall and was dubbed the Korean Houdini.

The convict, who measured 5ft5 and weighed 8st, was caught six days later hiding in a cardboard crate, according to the Korea Times.

El Chapo’s tunnel

Notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, leader of the Sinaloa cartel, managed to break free from behind bars twice.

His first took place in 2001, when he was smuggled out of a Mexican top-security jail in a laundry cart after bribing guards.

And the next was in 2015, when he escaped through a mile-long tunnel built underneath the showers of Altiplano prison in Almoloya, Mexico.

He was eventually recaptured in 2016 and is now serving a life sentence.

The bloke who dressed as his wife

A drug trafficker managed to flee from a jail in Penedo, north east Brazil in 2012 by dressing in woman’s clothes and walking past the guards.

Ronaldo Silva, then 39, was given the outfit by his wife during her weekly visit, the Mirror reported.

He shaved his arms and legs, put on a wig and bright red lipstick then walked out of the front gate in a blue dress and high heels.

But he was caught just half an hour later when a police officer noticed him struggling in the heels.


Redoine Faid was given a quarter of a century prison sentence after a botched robbery in which a police officer died.

In July 2016, three heavily armed men stormed the jail to break him out.

He was being held in a prison in Reau, Seine-et-Marne, near Paris, France.

Pictures from the scene show the helicopter abandoned closeby after Redoine completed his escape.

The helicopter was found abandoned in the town of Garges-les-Gonesse in the northern suburbs of Paris.

It is the second time he has escaped from prison.

In 2014, he escaped another jail after using explosives to blast his way through five prison doors before taking four guards hostage.

That time he went on the run for six weeks before being recaptured.

On the second occasion, he was on the run for 95 days before being caught by police and returned to jail.


John Dillinger's 1933 escape from Lima jail in Ohio remains one of the most infamous.

Prison wardens had found what appeared to be a jailbreak plan in the notorious US bank robber’s pocket.

Despite denying he was about to attempt an escape, he was kept under surveillance by guards.

Four days later, a group of fellow inmates escaped using the very same method laid out in the discovered notes. The escapees later returned, shot the sheriff and freed Dillinger.

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