Heavily armed men in helicopter free notorious French inmate

It is the second time Faid has pulled off a spectacular jailbreak- in 2013 he blasted his way out of a prison in northern France using dynamite before being recaptured six weeks later

French robber Redoine Faïd 'breaks free from jail' in dramatic helicopter escape

Faid serving 25 years for murder made an audacious escape from prison Sunday after a helicopter carrying several heavily armed commandos landed in a courtyard, freed him from a visiting room and carried him away.

Two of the men reportedly burst into the visiting room while the third waited in the prison courtyard and watched over the helicopter pilot, a flying instructor whose chopper the men hijacked in a nearby airfield.

The manhunt is ongoing and an interior ministry official told AFP that almost 3,000 French police were recruited for the search. In 2013, Faid managed to escape from a prison in Lille, France, by taking four guards hostage and then detonating explosives hidden in a tissue box to blow out the prison gates, local outlets reported.

Faid was eventually recaptured six weeks later at a hotel in an industrial area on the outskirts of Paris.

Faid's escape came after an appeals court sentenced him to 25 years for masterminding an armed robbery in 2010, during which a police officer was killed.

Redoine Faid, 46, who previously said his life of crime was inspired by films such as Scarface, broke out of the prison with the help of three armed accomplices, according to sources close to the case. It was then found burnt out by local police.

Faid has a violent criminal record dating to at least the 1990s, when he organized the robberies of banks, shops and armored vehicles.

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She was shot as the gang fled and used Kalashnikov assault rifles to fire at police cars pursuing them along the busy A4 motorway.

Although he was sentenced to 30 years in prison for these activities, he was released on parole after 10 years. He was arrested in 1998 after three years on the run in Switzerland and Israel, according to the French media.

Redoine Faid was in prison for armed robbery.

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.

He wrote that he had watched the film dozens of times to ideal his bank-robbing prowess.

A well-known French criminal has escaped from prison by helicopter, the country's prison authority has said. "In the corner of his mind, he never lost the idea of escaping".

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