Notorious French gangster flees prison in daring helicopter escape

The helicopter used in the escape was abandoned northeast of Paris

Video taken by another inmate at Reau prison in the Paris region shows Faid make his daring escape from the prison grounds.

On the morning of 1 July, on the territory of the prison raided, three men armed with guns and masked men who demanded the release of 45-year-old Faida (at this point he was in the room for visits, where he talked with his brother).

Local media reported that French-Algerian top gangster Redoine Faid made his second prison break in just over five years at around 11:30 am local time (10:30GMT) on Sunday.

In 2013, he took four prison guards hostage before using dynamite to blow his way out of jail and fleeing in a waiting getaway vehicle.

He was captured May 29, 2013, when authorities found him hiding out at a hotel in Pontault-Combault, east of Paris.

According to Agence France-Presse, Faid has been sentenced to serve 25 years "for masterminding a May 2010 botched armed robbery, in which a policewoman was killed".

Faid, a serial robber and murder convict, hasn't been seen since leaving the prison near Paris. He used explosives to escape from a different prison in 2013.

Dressed all in black, two commandos wearing balaclavas and police armbands entered the prison to look for Faid. The pilot, a flying instructor who had been taken hostage, was found unharmed. After landing the helicopter, two men broke in the visitors' room using smoke bombs and angle-grinders.

French prosecutors have opened an investigation into the jailbreak.

Throughout the 90s, Faid ran a gang involved in extortion and armed robbery in the French capital, before renouncing crime in a book about his experience growing up in the suburbs of Paris.

The chopper he escaped in and a black vehicle he switched to after abandoning the aircraft were both found burned out in Gonesse, about 18 miles north of Paris.

On arrival at the high-security facility in Reau the pilot headed toward the courtyard - the only part of the prison not fitted with anti-helicopter nets. He said he didn't know who Faid was, even though he is a notorious figure in France who has also written a book on his life of crime.

Prior to this, Faid had been released from a previous stint of a decade behind bars after convincing parole officials that he regretted his criminal past and was determined to start afresh. Faid later wrote that he had watched Mann's film "Heat" many times as inspiration for his bank-robbing. "Behind all his manners-he is very polite-he always hid his game", the supervisor said.

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