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MOSCOW, March 22 (Itar-Tass) —— In the Vologda Region two unidentified attackers seized a Mi-2 helicopter and helped a convict escape from a local penitentiary. As Russia’s Investigation Committee told Itar-Tass, “two unidentified persons highjacked a helicopter belonging to a Vologda-based company.”
“The attackers, armed with a handgun, demanded the crew take them to the premises of the correctional colony N 17 in the town of Sheksna, the Vologda Region. When the helicopter was hovering over the prison yard, a rope ladder was thrown down and one convict was picked up. After that the crew were told to fly to Vologda, where the attackers and the convict escaped. None of the crew members was hurt,” the IC said.
According to information available at this point, the escapee, serving a 24-year prison term for murder, had already spent 12 years in a tight security prison.
“Presumably, there were two attackers – a man and a woman. According to witnesses, two persons, a man and a woman, got out of the helicopter, when it landed in Vologda,” senior assistant to the chief of the IC department for the Vologda Region, Natalya Letenkova told Itar-Tass.
“Police detectives are now proceeding with inquires at three addresses – the site where the helicopter was seized, the penitentiary in Sheksna, and the site where the helicopter landed,” she said. A criminal case over the highjack of an aircraft and escape from prison is about to be opened.
The spokesman for the Vologda Region’s office of the federal penitentiary service, Anton Kuznetsov, identified the escapee as Alexei Shestakov, born in 1976.
“A special center coordinating efforts by all law enforcers of the Vologda Region has been created. The man’s description has been placed on the website of the regional police force.