The most recent spectacular prison break took place on Monday, in Mexico. A inmate riot caused by two rival gangs in Adodaca prison from Nuevo Leon, was in reality a diversion that masked a mass prison break. The plan resulted in 44 dead but also 30 fugitives. Despite this recent case, the “guide” of the great escapes show that inmates’ attempts to escape generally end badly.
Let’s take a look at some of the most famous prison escapes in history
Libby, 1864. United States
Like many prisons during the Civil War, Libby was probably a “hell on earth” even by prison standards. Lack of food, medication and hygiene caused the death of thousands of inmates. On February 9, 1864, more than 100 inmates managed to escape through tunnels that started under the prison. More than half of them managed to escape.
Stalag Luft III, the great escape from 1944
During the second world war 600 war prisoners dug three tunnels, named Tom, Dick and Harry, nine meters underground. Lead by British officer Roger Bushell, almost 200 prisoners, who were carrying false documents, managed to escape through the first tunnel. Unfortunately for them, the tunnel they dug proved to be too short. The result was that only 76 of the people who escape managed to come out to the surface, however all of them, with three exceptions, were captured. As a warning for those who might try to escape again, 50 of them were killed.
Cowra prisoner camp, 1944, Australia
Out of all the prisoners of war detained in Cowra, the only ones not at peace with their fate were the Japanese. They were ashamed that they were captured but also because of the cultural barrier between them and other inmates. On the morning of August 5, 1944, 1000 Japanese attacked the prison guards with handmade weapons. Almost 230 of them were killed and more than 100 were wounded. Only four guards were killed.
After the scape, many of the former prisoners preferred to kill themselves then be captured again.
Batticaloa, Sri lanka, 1983 and 1984
In September 1983, more than 40 politic prisoners, part of the separatist group Tamil Tigers and other 150 prisoners that took advantage of the opportunity, managed o escape. They succeeded to bring weapons in prison and they managed to overpower the guards after which they felt to India. Tamil Tigers returned in 1984 to free a woman prisoner that was left behind during the first escape.
The Maze, 1983, Ireland
38 IRA members that were sentenced for political crimes managed to escape from a maximum security prison in Northern Ireland. The inmates managed to smuggle weapons, took guards hostages and they got away with a prison truck. One officer was killed and another one was wounded. Almost half of the fugitives were apprehended shortly, and others were captured years after they escaped.
Sarposa, 2008 and 2011
The Kandahar, Afghanistan prison was the place of the most spectacular prison break. In 2008, 1000 prisoners managed to escape after a truck exploded near the prison. Later, 30 bikers and two kamikaze attacked the guards, allowing almost all prisoners to escape.
Three years later almost 500 prisoners managed to escape through a tunnel. They were helped by the Taliban. Almost four hours and a half was needed for them to get out but they managed to escape without firing a single gun shot.