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James Bond-style escape from French prison with helicopter likely aided by drones

Career-criminal Redoine Faid escaped from Reau Prison located just south of Paris, France, with the help of a heavily armed team. This team arrived by helicopter and broke Faid out using brute force. Just months before his escape, drones were spotted flying above the prison which are now believed to be linked to the breakout.


A team of heavily armed men landed their helicopter in the only courtyard not protected by netting within the prison. They used smoke bombs to cloud the security cameras on the premise. Using a grinding machine, they broke into the visiting room where Faid was speaking with his visiting brother. These men escorted him back to the chopper and they were off.

These men obtained the helicopter from a local flying club in the Paris region, taking the pilot hostage. Since the incident; the helicopter pilot was released from the hospital with no injuries, the helicopter itself was found in a town north of Paris, and Faid’s brother has been taken into custody. The criminals burned the helicopter before they left it.

According to ABC, Faid is known as a career criminal, currently serving a sentence for attempted armed robbery in 2010 that led to a car chase and a shootout with police, killing 26-year-old officer Aurelie Fouquet. During this 25 year sentence, Faid escaped from prison once before in 2013 using explosives hidden in his tissue pack.

The French Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe, wants to catch Faid as quickly as possible. Currently, there are 2900 officers on the hunt for him as he is a dangerous individual. In a statement, Philippe said:

“Police forces are fully mobilized in order to find this person. We know he is dangerous. We know he is a determined person and I want to find him as soon as possible.”

In this scenario, the drones flying around the prison were likely used to survey the area to plan Faid’s escape. This would give the team an aerial view of the facility to map out where doors were, where video cameras were placed, and ultimately where a good landing spot would be.

Drone regulations around prisons

Recently, the FAA has cracked down on drones flying around prisons by implementing a notice to airmen. This restricts drones from flying within 400 feet of prisons within the United States, a regulation that is much needed because of the capabilities of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s).

What do you think about flight restrictions near prisons? Let us know in the comments below.


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Photo credit: ABC