Skip to main content

Inmate who escaped Canadian prison in helicopter caught; another surrounded

By Susan Candiotti, Ross Levitt and Dana Ford, CNN
updated 11:28 PM EDT, Sun March 17, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Authorities are negotiating with escaped inmate Dany Provencal
  • Benjamin Hudon-Barbeau, another inmate, is arrested, along with two other people
  • The inmates escaped from a Quebec prison in a helicopter
  • The pilot of the helicopter was taken to a hospital; he is not considered a suspect

(CNN) -- Canadian police arrested three people Sunday in connection with a daring helicopter escape from a Quebec prison.

Benjamin Hudon-Barbeau, one of two escaped inmates is in custody, along with two other people, said Quebec provincial police spokesman Benoit Richard.

Dany Provencal, the second inmate, is "surrounded," and authorities are negotiating to bring him in peacefully, he said.

"I can tell you one thing: The two people that were inside the jail needed help to get out," Richard told CNN.

The spokesman declined to identify the other two people arrested. He also declined to say where the arrests took place, under what circumstances, or where Provencal was located.

The three people arrested will appear in court Monday morning.

The escape happened at around 2:20 p.m. ET Sunday at a prison in Saint-Jerome, northwest of Montreal.

The pilot was taken to a hospital for examination and will be interviewed by investigators, Richard said. He did not know whether the pilot had been injured and declined to speculate on news reports that said the inmates held a gun to the pilot's head, forcing him to fly.

Richard told CNN the pilot is considered a witness, not a suspect.

Hudon-Barbeau was cleared on appeal of a double murder, but returned to prison in connection with an attempted murder investigation, the spokesman said. He said he did not know what Provencal was convicted of.

Christa McGregor, spokeswoman for the Correctional Service of Canada, said Provencal was serving a federal sentence of seven years and 10 months for various offenses including arson, break and enter, forcible confinement, unauthorized possession of a firearm, utter threats to cause harm and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle.

His sentence started in September 2011, she said.

After the escape, a man claiming to be Hudon-Barbeau spoke to a reporter at 98.5 FM in Montreal, by phone.

"I don't want to cause any harm to anybody. I am not a killer. I never did anything bad to an innocent. I know that (the escape) wasn't the best thing to do, but I didn't want to stay in prison anymore. I am ready to die," the station reported he said.

It also reported that the helicopter involved approached the prison and dropped a cable that allowed the inmates to escape. The helicopter was later found at Mont-Tremblant, also in Quebec.

Once the helicopter landed, Hudon-Barbeau and Provencal are believed to have left in a car. Authorities were looking for that car, but Richard declined to provide a description of it. After the arrests, he said he didn't know whether the vehicle had been found.

Officials were doing a headcount at the prison to make sure that no one else was unaccounted for, the spokesman said.

CNN's Susan Candiotti and Ross Levitt reported from New York. Dana Ford wrote this report from Atlanta. CNN's Paula Newton and Alexander Hunter also contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 11:50 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Experts believe that ISIS may be using a Spanish enclave to bring jihad to Europe.
updated 9:00 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
With an efficient subway, inexpensive taxis and a good public bus system, Hong Kong is normally an easy city to navigate ...
updated 7:32 PM EDT, Sun September 28, 2014
CNN's Ivan Watson was in the middle of a pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong when things got out of hand.
updated 4:12 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
The world's animal population has halved in 40 years as humans put unsustainable demands on Earth, a new report warns.
updated 8:49 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Every day, refugees and migrants risk their lives as they seek a new life. Now, a new report puts a figure to the number of victims.
updated 10:42 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Mainstream commentators must promote positive role models to Muslims feeling victimized, writes Ghaffar Hussain.
updated 2:13 AM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
Two men familiar with inside knowledge of ISIS speak with CNN's Arwa Damon.
Explore CNN's interactive that explains ISIS' roots, what it controls, and where its support comes from.
updated 4:10 PM EDT, Thu September 25, 2014
In his first-ever interview as the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani defended his country against allegations of funding terrorism.
updated 11:03 AM EDT, Sat September 27, 2014
The North Korean leader hasn't been seen for weeks, leading to speculation that he is in poor health.
updated 9:54 PM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Haider al-Abadi hopes airstrikes don't lead to "of another terrorist element" instead of ISIS.
updated 9:19 AM EDT, Thu September 25, 2014
The United States couldn't do it on its first try. Neither could the Soviets.
updated 11:29 AM EDT, Wed September 24, 2014
CNN's Nima Elbagir reflects on a harrowing trip to Liberia where she covered the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history.
updated 10:23 AM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
Contrary to public opinion, rats can actually save lives -- Apopo's rats have actually saved thousands.
updated 9:36 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT