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Prison Foils Helicopter Escape Attempt

Chopper forced to land after would-be escapee is shot
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2013 1:41 PM CST
Prison Foils Helicopter Escape Attempt
The helicopter wound up having to land in the prison parking lot.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A helicopter attempted to spring an inmate from a Greek prison yesterday, in what would have been a Hollywood-esque caper worthy of James Bond—if it had worked. At first, the helicopter tried to use a hook at the end of a rope to rip down the prison's chicken-wire fence, authorities tell the AP. When that failed, the would-be rescuers just lowered the rope into the court yard, so convicted gang member Panagiotis Vlastos could grab on, while the copter's two armed passengers laid down cover fire with AK-47s.

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But the gambit failed when the prisoner was shot in the leg, and the helicopter was forced to land in the prison parking lot. The helicopter was hired with another flight plan booked, and so far it's unclear if the pilot was in on the scheme or coerced into cooperating. It was Vlastos' fourth attempt to escape from the prison; he's been convicted of murdering rival gang members and of conspiring to kidnap a Greek shipping tycoon. (Read more helicopter stories.)

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