Notorious gangster flees French jail by helicopter

Investigators transport an Alouette II helicopter allegedly abandoned by French prisoner Redoine Faid and suspected accomplices after his escape from the prison of Reau in Gonesse north of Paris

Not long after the prison break, the helicopter was found abandoned in a field in Gonesse, a Paris suburb just northeast of the capital, photos of the scene showed. A third gunmen had stayed in the helicopter with the pilot, who had been taken hostage.

Faid's brother, who was visiting him at the jail, has been taken into custody for questioning.

The escape came after an appeals court in April sentenced Faid to 25 years for masterminding a 2010 botched armed robbery, in which a policewoman was killed.

The courtyard that they landed the helicopter in is the only one in Réau that doesn't have helicopter nets on it. Helicopter escapes from prisons in France were relatively common up until the late 2000s. The helicopter carrying the armed men landed at a courtyard, freed him from the visiting room and took off, AP reported.

It was the second time he had escaped from a French prison - the last time he blasted his way out with hidden explosives. In it, he claimed to have been inspired by the USA gangster film "Scarface", the Telegraph wrote, but said his life of crime was behind him.

Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet told Europe 1 radio that she had sent a team of inspectors to the jail "to see whether the security measures were defective so that we can rectify them".

According to Telegraph, Faid escaped with the help from 3 heavily-armed accomplices while he was being visited by his brother.

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In 2013, he escaped after seizing four guards as human shields and blowing several doors off with dynamite.

Footage of the unbelievable moment notorious French gangster Redoine Faid broke out of prison in a helicopter has been shared online.

The ministry said Redoine Faid's escape only took "a few minutes" on Sunday and no-one was injured or taken hostage.

The pilot, who had been beaten, was found in a state of shock.

Faid said his life of crime was inspired by films such as Scarface, and has co-authored two books about his time in gangs in the suburbs of Paris. He was arrested at a hotel six weeks later. He was arrested in 1998 after three years on the run in Switzerland and Israel, according to the French media.

Faid was freed in 2009 after serving 10 years in prison and at the time he swore he had turned his life around.

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