Kazakh Prisoners Blow Themselves Up Trying to Flee 16 convicts die from detonated oxygen canister By Sarah Whitmire, Newser Staff Posted Jul 12, 2011 10:44 AM CDT 0 comments Comments After they'd been found out, the prisoners detonated an oxygen canister they hoped to use to escape. (Shutterstock) (Newser) – Sixteen prisoners in Kazakhstan died in a most unfortunate way during an attempted prison escape: They blew themselves up. The prisoners staged an armed assault on a sentry post and then fled to a garment factory within the jail, reports the AP. As special forces approached the building they had barricaded themselves in, the prisoners detonated an oxygen canister. Radio Free Europe reports that the canister was intended to be used to blow a hole in a wall to facilitate escape. An officer told Interfax news agency that the blast could have been an accident, or an intentional act to ensure they weren't taken alive. The "hardcore criminals" were serving sentences for grave crimes, including robbery, murder, and rape.