Most Famous historical escapes

There have been many famous escapes throughout history.

  • In 1756 Italian writer Giacomo Casanova famously managed to escape from one of the most secure prisons of his time: the Doge's Palace.
  • The Great Escape, 76 Allied POWs (primarily Commonwealth airmen) escaped from Stalag Luft III during World War Two. 50 of the escaped POWs were rounded up and shot by the Gestapo, while only 3 succeeded in reaching neutral territories.
  • The Libby Prison Escape occurred on 10 February 1864, when 109 Union officers escaped from Libby Prison, a Confederate POW camp in Richmond, Virginia during the U.S. Civil War. Of the 109, 59 succeeded in making it back through Federal lines.
  • Frank Morris, John Anglin and Clarence Anglin escaped from 'inescapable' Alcatraz Island; although the fate of the escapees is unclear.
  • John Dillinger served time at the Indiana state penitentiary at Michigan City, until 1933, when he was paroled. Within four months, he was back in jail in Lima, Ohio, but the gang sprang him, killing the jailer Sheriff Jessie Sarber. Most of the gang was captured again by the end of the year in Tucson, Arizona due to a fire at the Historic Hotel Congress. Dillinger alone was sent to the Lake County jail in Crown Point, Indiana. He was to face trial for the suspected killing of Officer William O'Malley during a bank shootout in East Chicago, Indiana, some time after his escape from jail. During this time on trial, the famous photograph was taken of Dillinger putting his arm on prosecutor Robert Estill's shoulder when suggested to him by reporters.
  • On March 3, 1934, Dillinger escaped from the "escape-proof" (as it was dubbed by local authorities at the time) Crown Point, Indiana county jail which was guarded by many police and national guardsmen. Newspapers reported that Dillinger had escaped using a fake gun made from wood blackened with shoe polish.
  • In December 1979 political prisoners Tim Jenkin, Stephen Lee and Alex Moumbaris escaped from South Africa's maximum-security Pretoria Prison. After 18 months of plotting, testing, preparing, and learning how to pick locks and forge keys, the trio escaped the prison the same way they came in: through 10 locked doors.
  • Soviet spy George Blake escaped from Wormwood Scrubs on 22 October 1966, assisted by Pat Pottle, Michael Randle and Sean Bourke. Both Blake and Bourke reached the safety of the Soviet Union.
  • German Naval Air Service Kapitänleutnant Gunter Plüschow escaped from the Donington Hall prisoner of war camp in 1915.
  • Colditz Castle was used as an 'escape-proof' prisoner of war camp during World War II; over the course of 300 escape attempts 130 prisoners escaped, of which 30 eventually managed to reach friendly territory. Escapees tunneled, disguised themselves as guards, workmen or women, snuck away through sewer drains, and even planned to use a glider to get over the wall. (Further research has proven that the glider attempt would almost certainly have been successful, but the War ended before it was to be put into action. By this time the glider had been fully assembled.)
  • André Devigny, a French Resistance Fighter during World War 2, escaped Montluc Military Prison in Lyon with his cellmate in April 1943.
  • Accused safe cracker Alfie Hinds tried to proclaim his innocence by repeatedly walking out of prison. He became famous for escaping from Nottingham Prison after sneaking through the locked doors and over a 20-foot prison wall for which he became known as "Houdini" Hinds. He later escaped from the Law Courts at the Old Bailey. Escorted by two guards, he went to the lavatory where they removed his handcuffs outside. Once inside, Hinds bundled the handcuffs and snapped the padlock onto screw eyes inserted on the door by his unknown accomplices and escaped into the crowd on Fleet Street. Hinds sealed his notoriety by making a third escape from Chelmsford Prison.
  • Jack Sheppard escaped from prison several times, using elaborate planning, and careful noting of the time that guards patrolled certain areas.
  • The escape of Lucien Rivard in Canada in 1965. Rivard was consequently named the Canadian Newsmaker of the Year by the Canadian Press.
  • Before being sentenced to 12 years in the Federal Corrections Institution at Petersburg, Virginia in April 1971, Frank W. Abagnale is said to have escaped from both a British VC-10 airliner, and the Federal Detention Center in Atlanta, Georgia. His autobiography was later adapted to the screen for the 2002 release of Catch Me If You Can, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
  • In 1984, six death row inmates escaped Mecklenburg Correctional Center, making it the largest mass death row escape in American history. All were recaptured within 18 days, and all six men would eventually be executed. The final executon took place in 1996.
  • Claude Dallas escaped from a penitentiary in Idaho in 1986 and spent a year on the run.
  • Danny Ray Horning escaped from the Arizona State Prison in Florence, Arizona on May 12, 1992, and a 55-day manhunt ensued as Horning fled the authorities. The pursuit ended on July 5, 1992, near Sedona, Arizona. Horning led authorities hundreds of miles through the Arizona wilderness, and committed numerous kidnappings during the manhunt.
  • 1996, August. Englishman David McMillan escapes from Thailand’s Klong Prem prison – sometimes called the Bangkok Hilton – while awaiting trial on drug charges. McMillan cut the bars of his shared cell, scaled four walls before dropping over the electrified outer wall using a bamboo ladder, and then skirted the moat while hiding his face under an umbrella from the prison factory. The break-out described in ESCAPE (published 2007).
  • Prisoners used guns to escape Whitemoor (HM Prison)
  • In 1998, the Belgian child molester Marc Dutroux notoriously managed to escape for a few hours due to an embarrassing series of events. He was caught the same afternoon, but the incident forced two politicians to resign and deepened the loss of faith in the Belgian judicial system.
  • Martin Gurule escapes from Texas Death Row in 1998. Found dead a few days later.
  • The Texas 7 escape on December 13, 2000.
  • In New York, two convicted murders escape from Elmira State Penitentiary in July 2003, both recaptured in 2 days.
  • Brian Nichols escaped from the Fulton County courthouse in Atlanta, by overpowering a guard. He then murdered a judge, a court reporter, a police officer and US Customs Agent. He then held a woman named Ashley Smith hostage for a night in her own home, before he allowed her to leave to visit her daughter. Once she was released, she called the police, and he surrendered peacefully to SWAT officers who arrived on the scene.
  • On November 4, 2005, Texas Death Row Inmate Charles Victor Thompson escaped from the Harris County Jail by acquiring a set of street clothes and pretending to be a representative from the State Attorney General's office to fool the corrections officers. He was recaptured two days later in Shreveport, Louisiana, 200 miles from where he escaped.
  • Richard Lee McNair has escaped from custody three times, including from a federal maximum-security prison in April 2006. He is still at large.
  • Kelly Allen Frank (who had plotted to kidnap the infant son of talk-show host David Letterman) and William John Willcutt escape from a Montana prison on June 8, 2007. Both were recaptured on June 13, 2007.
Based on wiki