2 caught after fleeing jail in helicopter

MONTREAL — Two Quebec inmates grabbed a rope attached to a hijacked helicopter to make a daring daylight escape from a prison outside Montreal, then led police in a car chase and exchanged gunfire at a rural cabin before they were finally recaptured, authorities said Monday.

Police said the helicopter pilot was held hostage in the Sunday jail-break and was not a suspect. He was treated for shock in hospital.

Yves Le Roux, president of the helicopter rental company, Passport-Hélico, said Monday that two men posed as tourists who wanted to take a flight over Mount-Tremblant before they pulled a gun on the pilot and told him to fly to the prison and land on one of the buildings.


‘‘They had some rope and the two prisoners climbed onto the rope,’’ Le Roux said. ‘‘Then they ordered him to take off to a field nearby and they landed into a field and while they were there, the two guys hopped into the helicopter.’’

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Le Roux said the pilot switched on an emergency signal during the flight. He said when they eventually landed near a hotel the suspects pulled a T-shirt over the pilot’s head and told him not to look where they were running.

A Quebec provincial police spokesman, Benoit Richard, said Monday that they had arrested four people about 30 miles north of the Saint-Jerome prison from which the inmates escaped. Police said they followed the helicopter until it landed and then chased a car until it reached a rural cabin.

‘‘When they got out of their vehicle, they started shooting at police officers,’’ Richard said.

Two of the suspects then broke into the cabin and the residents fled unharmed.


Two of those arrested Sunday were inmates Benjamin Hudon-Barbeau, 36, and Danny Provencal, 33.

Hudon-Barbeau was arrested first and police cornered Provencal later in the evening.

Associated Press