It was a real "James Bond moment," witness Francis Emond tells CNN.
And just like in the movies, the bad guys have been tracked down and brought to justice.
Sunday around 2:20 p.m. ET a helicopter, which may have been highjacked, swooped down over a prison about a half-hour northwest of Montreal. Two convicts, 36-year-old Benjamin Hudon-Barbeau and 33-year-old Danny Provencal, climbed up ropes and into the chopper, as the CBC reports.
Within hours, according to Montreal's Gazette, the helicopter and its pilot had been found about 50 miles away. By 8:30 p.m., the CBC says, police had captured Hudon-Barbeau and two others suspected of being involved in the escape. "Provencal later surrendered peacefully to police, Radio-Canada reporter Pascal Robidas reported early Monday."
The CBC adds that "police wouldn't give any details about how the arrests were made or about the charges facing those who were arrested."
As for how the caper came off, CNN reports that:
"Two men posing as tourists hired the chopper for a tour, said a reporter from LCN television network who said he knows the pilot. Once they were in the air, the men held a gun to the pilot's head and reportedly ordered him to fly to Saint-Jerome. Quebec provincial police spokesman Benoit Richard would not comment on the reports. ...
"Once at the detention center, the helicopter hovered as two inmates climbed aboard using cables or ropes lowered for them, police said. Slack-jawed prison guards watched as the helicopter then spirited away as two of their prisoners clung on."
Helicopter escapes don't seem to lead to permanent freedom. As The Associated Press reports:
"Although the tactic may have been a first for Quebec, using a chopper to break out of jail has a long and colorful history, and not just in the movies.
"A New York businessman, Joel David Kaplan, used a chopper to escape from a Mexican jail in 1971, and went on to write a book about it. Pascal Payet, a French prisoner, used a helicopter to escape on three occasions, only to be caught by authorities every time."