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Three quit in wake of helicopter prison break

  • Story Highlights
  • Prison chief and two others resigns after two inmates escape in helicopter
  • Justice minister: Those involved in this escape will be brought to justice, punished
  • Helicopter hovered over roof, lowered rope ladders to two inmates
  • The prison break is the second escape for one of the inmates
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ATHENS, Greece (CNN) -- The director of a maximum-security prison and two of his colleagues resigned Monday after two inmates escaped by helicopter.

Police at Korydallos prison after the daring escape.

Police at Korydallos prison after the daring escape.

The Greek minister of justice, Nicholas Dendias, said he had asked for and received the resignations of the director, security secretary and head of inspection and control at Korydallos Prison, in a suburb of Athens.

"The government will not tolerate the current situation," he said in a written statement. "Those involved in this escape will be brought to justice and punished."

The escape played out like a Hollywood action film. Video Watch more about the dramatic escape »

It began around Sunday afternoon, when two men hijacked a helicopter from Athens International Airport and ordered the pilot to fly to the prison.

The helicopter hovered over the roof of a prison compound where inmates Vassilis Paleokostas, 42, and Alket Riza, 34, were located. Rope ladders were unfurled and the prisoners climbed into the helicopter and escaped, the Justice Ministry said.

Prison guards shot at the helicopter during the escape, witnesses told local media. There were no reports of injuries.

The pilot was found gagged near the helicopter north of Athens, a state-run media report said.

The prison break by helicopter is the second from the prison for Paleokostas, who was convicted for abducting a businessman and escaped the first time in June 2006. He was recaptured several months later and returned to the prison.


Investigators searched for the inmates and unidentified accomplices Sunday.

On Monday, the justice minister announced the resignation of Leonidas Karampekiou, the prison director; Foti Vlachou, the security secretary there, and Apostolos Economou, the head of inspection and control at the prison.

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