Manhunt Under Way In France After Prisoner Escapes In Helicopter

The helicopter was found burned in the town of Garges-les-Gonesse, in the northern suburbs of Paris.

The helicopter that extracted Faid yesterday flew right across the Paris region from the jail to the south-east of the capital, before being dumped not far from Charles de Gaulle airport to the north-east of the city.

A union representative at Reau told BFM television that "two men dressed in black, wearing balaclavas and police armbands" entered the prison to look for Faid and used a grinding machine to cut open the door that directly leads to the visiting room. The passenger it sought was a 46-year-old gangster named Redoine Faid, who had been serving a 25-year sentence at the prison for armed robbery and murder.

Investigators trasnport an Alouette II helicopter allegedly abandoned by French prisoner Redoine Faid and suspected accomplices after his escape from the prison of Reau.

Three "well trained, professional, and heavily armed" men showed up and, using smoke, managed to whisk him away in a helicopter parked in the prison courtyard.

In his 2013 jailbreak, he briefly took four guards hostage with a pistol before escaping in a waiting getaway auto. The pilot of the helicopter had been taken hostage from a nearby flying club.

Thousands of French police across the country were on a massive manhunt Monday for a notorious gangster who once fled to Israel, after he pulled off a spectacular jailbreak Sunday, fleeing his prison aboard a hijacked helicopter in a commando-style operation.

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When the chopper arrived, Faid was meeting with his brother in the visiting room.

Faid is believed to have fled by auto along with his accomplices. Faid's brother has been taken into custody for questioning.

He was on the run for six weeks before police captured him in a hotel with an accomplice.

In the 1990s, he led a gang involved in robbing banks and armored vans.

Faid fled on Sunday with three accomplices, according to the sources.

Before that incident, Faid had been released from prison after convincing the parole board that he renounced his criminal past.

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.

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