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Police hunting for helicopter jailbreak pair

by at 23/03/2012 17:41


Police are looking for two accomplices involved in Thursday’s Hollywood-style prison escape, where a helicopter was used to help bust out a prison inmate in the Vologda region.

A man and a woman, whose facial composites have been published on the local Internal Affairs website, are reportedly heading to St. Petersburg, according to a police source cited by Interfax.

The couple has been lucky to avoid encounters with police since they abandoned the hijacked helicopter, while the escapee was less fortunate. Alexei Shestakov was captured on his way to Yaroslavl.


Month’s preparation

It took about a month to prepare the escape operation, according to preliminary data, Kommersant reported. The helicopter was hired from local airlines Vologodskiye Avialinii for a commercial flight and paid for by a friend of Shestakov’s brother, according to the daily.

Together with his female accomplice, the prisoner’s brother forced the pilot to fly towards the prison and Shestakov climbed on board of the hovering aircraft using ropes.

The jailed culprit may have placed the call to hire the helicopter himself, according to RIA Novosti. He reportedly called Shestakov’s businessman friend asking to organize a helicopter visit for a high-profile flight. “His [Shestakov’s] friend didn’t understand what it was all about but paid for the helicopter,” Valery Gribakin, spokesman for the Internal Affairs Ministry, told RIA Novosti earlier.


Bold operation

But the daring start of the air operation ended with a less impressive landing on the ground, during which Shestakov was wounded.

Policemen opened fire at him after the escapee started shooting at his pursuers, Kommersant reported. The driver of the car Shestakov was fleeing in is currently a witness in the case.

The injury is not serious and won’t cause a delay in Shestakov’s questioning. After the failed escape attempt he’s facing up to life in prison. At the time of the escape, he had served one half of his 24 year term for murder.

“It was a bold operation,” special forces veteran Anatoly Yermolin told Dozhd TV station. “The key [air flight] moment was thought through…but the rest of it wasn’t planned that well.” 


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