Convicted Murderer Panagiotis Vlastos Tries to Escape From Greek Prison in Helicopter

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An escape attempt at a Greek prison was stopped on Sunday when the helicopter that was trying to extract convicted killer Panagiotis Vlastos from the jail’s courtyard was forced to land. Vlastos was shot during the effort. This was the fourth time he has tried to escape from prison.

The chartered helicopter was carrying a pilot, technician and two armed passengers. The helicopter first tried to rip off the chicken-wire fencing surrounding the prison, but that didn’t work. While the armed passengers of the helicopter blasted away with AK-47 assault rifles, a rope was lowered for Vlastos to grab. He was injured when prison guards returned fire.

According to ABC News, Vlastos actually managed to climb into the helicopter at one point. After being shot, he fell out of the chopper and landed in the courtyard 10 feet below. The helicopter was then eventually forced to land in the prison’s parking lot. Vlastos, 43, is serving a life term for murder and racketeering.

Although the helicopter’s two armed passenger were certainly in on the plan, it is not yet known whether the pilot and the technician were willing participants in the scheme. More than 500 bullets were fired during the escape attempt. Authorities also discovered “improvised explosive devices” that thankfully were not used.

Vlastos was wounded and is being treated at the prison hospital. He made previous escape attempts in 1994 and 1998. Those were also unsuccessful.

It is not the first time a helicopter has been used in a prison break attempt in Greece. In 1996, convicted criminals Vassilis Paleokostas and Alket Rizaj were rescued from the high-security Korydallos prison in Athens by chopper. They ended up getting caught, but then made a second escape attempt in 2009 also using a helicopter. Paleokostas has not yet been caught.

Source: (ABC News)