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A manhunt is underway in France for one of the country's most notorious gangsters who made a daring escape from prison in a helicopter yesterday.
Redoine Faid was being visited by his brother in Réau Prison, on the outskirts of Paris, when several heavily armed men landed a helicopter in the prison yard to bust him out.
They hi-jacked their helicopter from a local flight instructor who was forced into taking part in the mission. Once in the prison they found their man whilst one gunman stayed with the helicopter in the yard, before making off in the same fashion.
This is not Faid's first escape from a prison, either. Back in 2013 he blasted out of jail using dynamite, he also took 4 prison wardens hostage during this attempt. He was on the run for six weeks before he was recaptured in a hotel room.
He's been locked up since a 2010 cash-transport van robbery that he planned and executed. He was supposed to be serving a 25-year long sentence.
Once they had their man in the helicopter they flew it right across the city of Paris before abandoning it near to the Charles de Gaulle Airport in the north east of the city.
They tried to burn it out to destroy the evidence, but it was found quickly by the police and put out. It has been reported that the helicopter pilot was released without injury.
They then got into a black Renault Megane and continued to flee. The car was found abandoned in a shopping centre car park near the airport. They transferred to a white van bearing the company name 'Enedis' on the side.
Every police and gendarme unit in Paris is on high alert for the criminals, but has been warned of the danger they pose. Checkpoints have been set up across the city.
The courtyard that they landed the helicopter in is the only one in Réau that doesn't have helicopter nets on it. Helicopter escapes from prisons in France were relatively common up until the late 2000s.
A union representative for the prison told French news channel BFM that 'two men dressed in black, wearing balaclavas and police armbands' broke into the visiting room with a grinder. Faid's brother has been taken into custody for questioning.
The 2010 robbery that he was imprisoned for involved the shooting of a female police officer. The 26-year-old was killed after a dramatic chase down the motorway in which the robbers fired AK47 rifles at police cars on a busy motorway.
Before that incident, Faid had been released from prison after convincing the parole board that he renounced his criminal past.
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