ATHENS, GREECE: Hijacked hovering helicopter whisks away two prisoners

For the second time in their lives, two robbers escaped from a high-security prison Sunday by scaling a rope ladder to a hovering helicopter amid a gun battle with guards.

The men remained missing late Sunday night. They had been scheduled to appear before a magistrate today about their first escape – from the same prison – three years ago.

The shaken government quickly dismissed three Justice Ministry officials, and the prime minister scheduled an emergency meeting of part of his Cabinet today to discuss the country’s prisons.

Vassilis Paleokostas, 42, and Alket Rizaj, 34, were picked up by a hijacked helicopter that flew over the courtyard of Athens’ Korydallos prison Sunday afternoon. They climbed a rope ladder thrown to them by a woman in the copter, the Justice Ministry said.

Guards on the ground opened fire and the woman fired back with an automatic rifle, authorities said. No injuries were reported.



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