Top French criminal Redoine Faid escapes prison by helicopter

The notorious gangster escapes French prison for second time in five years after accomplices pick him up by helicopter.

    The burned-out helicopter used in the escape was found by local police in Gonesse, north of Paris [Geoffroy van der Hasselt/AFP]
    The burned-out helicopter used in the escape was found by local police in Gonesse, north of Paris [Geoffroy van der Hasselt/AFP]

    A well-known French criminal has escaped from prison by helicopter, the country's prison authority has said. 

    Local media reported that French-Algerian top gangster Redoine Faid made his second prison break in just over five years at around 11:30am (10:30 GMT) on Sunday. 

    Faid, 46, was reportedly assisted by at least three armed accomplices who picked him up by helicopter from the Reau prison courtyard, in the southeastern suburbs of Paris, Le Parisien newspaper reported. 

    Le Monde newspaper reported the operation only took a few minutes. 

    The burned-out helicopter was found by local police in the Gonesse area, north of Paris. 

    Faid, who was once the most-wanted criminal in France, pulled off an earlier prison break in April 2013 when he took four prison guards hostage and used explosives hidden in tissue packets to blast his way through several gates. 

    He was captured six weeks later in a hotel outside the French capital. 

    Faid was serving a 25-year prison sentence for a failed 2010 robbery in which a 26-year-old municipal police officer was killed. 

    He had been released on parole in 2009, after spending 10 years behind bars for a series of robberies. 

    That same year, he wrote a book about growing up in Paris' suburbs and leading a life of crime, which he claimed at the time to have put behind him. 

    Interpol put Faid on their most wanted list after he escaped from prison in 2013 [File: Interpol/AFP]

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


    Meet the deported nurse aiding asylum seekers at US-Mexico border

    Meet the deported nurse helping refugees at the border

    Francisco 'Panchito' Olachea drives a beat-up ambulance around Nogales, taking care of those trying to get to the US.

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    How a homegrown burger joint pioneered a food revolution and decades later gave a young, politicised class its identity.

    'We will cut your throats': The anatomy of Greece's lynch mobs

    The brutality of Greece's racist lynch mobs

    With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests.