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February 23, 2009 2:56 PM   Subscribe

Even the cheesiest novelist wouldn't dare write this one: Greece's most notorious criminal, kidnapper Vassilis Paleokostas, breaks out of a maximum security prison by grabbing onto a rope ladder dangling from an accomplice's hijacked helicopter, as guards open fire and a woman shoots back from the chopper. This happens as he's being transported to a hearing to face charges related to breaking out of jail in 2006 by grabbing onto a rope ladder being dangled from a helicopter hijacked by his brother, bank robber Nikos Paleokostas, hailed by some poor Greeks as a modern day Robin Hood. There are already half a dozen Facebook fan clubs. Sadly dull video of the departing chopper here. The pilot, found tied up, and four prison guards have been arrested.
posted by CunningLinguist (50 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 


I can't help but applaud this, even though I suspect he may be a very bad man.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:02 PM on February 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


Flee the maximum security prison by dangling from a rope ladder hanging out of a hijacked helicopter once, shame on you.

Flee the maximum security prison by dangling from a rope ladder hanging out of a hijacked helicopter twice, can't get fooled again.
posted by Damn That Television at 3:03 PM on February 23, 2009 [20 favorites]


Does he have henchmen?

He seems like the kind of guy who would have henchmen.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:06 PM on February 23, 2009 [7 favorites]


(One of the Facebook groups is called Paleokostas Airlines.)
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:06 PM on February 23, 2009


This is how I quit my last job!
posted by aubilenon at 3:08 PM on February 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


ALBANIAN henchmen, no less. I neglected to mention that the same Albanian henchman escaped with him both times. Didn't want to fill up the whole front page.
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:08 PM on February 23, 2009


I've seen this happen in cartoons a few times but ...
posted by doctor_negative at 3:11 PM on February 23, 2009


Diabolik lives!
posted by JHarris at 3:11 PM on February 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also happened in "XXX 2" starring Ice Cube.
posted by mrbill at 3:20 PM on February 23, 2009


Lupin the III?
posted by Dreamghost at 3:20 PM on February 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


I remember reading last year of a guy in a scooter chase with the police on a Greek island ... he had chopped off his girlfriend's head and was attempting to make a getway, with the head.

Greece is an interesting place.
posted by mannequito at 3:22 PM on February 23, 2009


> Even the cheesiest novelist wouldn't dare write this one...

So you're saying that if somebody made a book out of this, it would be considered a greater insult to ones intelligence than glittery vampires, secret societies who take their instructions from centuries-old acrostic puzzles, or a race of Nazi clones hidden in the Amazon rainforest?
posted by ardgedee at 3:30 PM on February 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes.
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:31 PM on February 23, 2009


Well then, I disagree with you because it sounds pretty darn cool.
posted by ardgedee at 3:32 PM on February 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


GET TO THE ελικόπτερο
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 3:34 PM on February 23, 2009 [23 favorites]


I have a feeling that agents of some international agency of intrigue or another will be hauling him out of a cafe in my neighborhood within a few onths. I just hope I'm there sipping ouzo and get to see the show.
posted by jonmc at 3:34 PM on February 23, 2009


So you're saying that if somebody made a book out of this, it would be considered a greater insult to ones intelligence than... a race of Nazi clones hidden in the Amazon rainforest?

Ira Levin's hackery is in a class by itself.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:45 PM on February 23, 2009


Well, if the service was good (punctual, gunman was a good shot, pilot had good sense of direction and a generous selection of in-flight drinks) why wouldn't you use Heli Jail Busters again?
posted by ob at 3:49 PM on February 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


ardgedee: "> Even the cheesiest novelist wouldn't dare write this one...

So you're saying that if somebody made a book out of this, it would be considered a greater insult to ones intelligence than glittery vampires, secret societies who take their instructions from centuries-old acrostic puzzles, or a race of Nazi clones hidden in the Amazon rainforest?
"

I don't think those qualify as cheesy. Those are just bad.

This, however, is brilliant. And cheesy. But still brilliant.
posted by Phire at 3:57 PM on February 23, 2009


It actually make perfect sense.... in real life if you got a plan that works you reuse it again, it's only in fiction that you can't try the same thing twice (cause readers/watchers would get bored).
posted by coust at 4:10 PM on February 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


A list of major helicopter prison escapes
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:58 PM


Prisons need to seriously consider roofs.
posted by shothotbot at 4:11 PM on February 23, 2009


Oh man, the helicopter prison escape minigame is totally my favorite easter egg from Grand Theft Auto: Κορυδαλλός. AWESOME.
posted by elizardbits at 4:26 PM on February 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I burst out laughing at this. My sister came down, concerned, thinking I had literally lost my mind.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 4:35 PM on February 23, 2009


Flee the maximum security prison by dangling from a rope ladder hanging out of a hijacked helicopter twice, can't get fooled again.

YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:36 PM on February 23, 2009


If only this had been right in the middle of a prison riot! Then it'd be just in time for Watchmen.
posted by isnotchicago at 4:36 PM on February 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Astro Zombie: well for convicts, the brothers Paleokostas are as good as they get. All of the Paleokostas kidnap victims reported later on how decently they were treated (both are kidnapers and bank robbers). They have their hideouts in the mountains of Central Greece (which connects them with the mythologized banditry of ages past) where they were local benefactors, and people in the areas they roamed pretty much idolized them. The fact that they never killed anyone probably counted in their favor as well.

Both brothers have at least 5 jailbreaks between them and countless near-escapes. They are legends already and this escape only adds to their aura. Oh and they escaped a pretty fucked up prison system...
posted by talos at 4:50 PM on February 23, 2009


You lika da jailbreaks, eh? The jailbreaks izza good, eh?
...I getta you more jailbreak.
(Yeah, I eat at Hubs...so?)

True story: he had a hip, brassy, jazzy soundtrack broadcast for the prison break provided by Henry Mancini.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:59 PM on February 23, 2009


sadly this will never be made into a michael bay blockbuster. the AP story made it clear that in spite of being hit in the fuel tank by at least one bullet the helicopter did not explode.
posted by krautland at 5:00 PM on February 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


The irony is sort of lost in English but this ad by the helicopter rental company whose chopper was hijacked promises "escape to idyllic locations... fast" and "getting to places others can't reach"
posted by talos at 5:14 PM on February 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


See, what I don't understand is how a helicopter generates enough lift to carry two guys with balls that huge.
posted by jamstigator at 5:16 PM on February 23, 2009 [12 favorites]


but that never stopped Michael Bay from asploding a copter before now did it?
posted by mannequito at 5:19 PM on February 23, 2009


Personally, I'd like to watch the escape again, this time to the tune of Yakety Sax.
posted by ob at 5:36 PM on February 23, 2009


jamstigator: one of the two accomplices that hijacked the helicopter was apparently a woman.
posted by talos at 5:37 PM on February 23, 2009


You people have to read The Ballad of the Whiskey Robber. Helicopters are for pansies.
posted by spicynuts at 5:58 PM on February 23, 2009


I love that the real world regularly assaults sensible thought.
posted by graventy at 7:20 PM on February 23, 2009


True, couts.
That always frustrated me about Wile Coyote. Ok so the booster rockets didn't work that time. Just try again.
posted by Flashman at 7:35 PM on February 23, 2009


jamstigator: one of the two accomplices that hijacked the helicopter was apparently a woman.

She was wearing black leather, right? Huh? And boots. Boots with kick-ass stilletto heels. And shades. Yeah, that's the ticket.
posted by jokeefe at 8:25 PM on February 23, 2009


The irony is sort of lost in English but this ad by the helicopter rental company whose chopper was hijacked promises "escape to idyllic locations... fast" and "getting to places others can't reach"

Thank you for translating. And no, the irony is not lost.
posted by orange swan at 9:26 PM on February 23, 2009


I'm sure people in Greece may have different view of things, and he may be a very bad man...but I find myself in a state of bemused admiration. On paper, he sounds like my sort of criminal mastermind. Nobody ever got hurt, he gave most of the money away to the poor...and he escaped by helicopter not once...but twice!
posted by dejah420 at 9:26 PM on February 23, 2009


This doesn't really work for me unless I get to hear him angrily shouting "Otisburg?... Otisburg?!!"
posted by blueberry at 10:23 PM on February 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


I love that the real world regularly assaults sensible thought.

No, man: this is Greece. Things are different there. This is so awesome.
posted by Curry at 10:34 PM on February 23, 2009


I remember reading last year of a guy in a scooter chase with the police on a Greek island ... he had chopped off his girlfriend's head and was attempting to make a getway, with the head.

I just had to look that up. Story linked here for anyone interested.
posted by kisch mokusch at 1:51 AM on February 24, 2009


Cunning Linguist: the helicopter escape has been an important part of Greek Literature since the 5th century B.C., when it featured in a play which is still quite popular today: "Medea", by Euripedes.
posted by honest knave at 2:41 AM on February 24, 2009


That list of major helicopter escapes omits the Mountjoy Helicopter Escape.
posted by nfg at 2:42 AM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


The guys that built the federal supermax prison in Florence, Colorado through of this one:
As I walk into the outdoor recreation area, it's evident that virtually every possibility in combating the criminal mind has been considered. Large cables are strung above the basketball courts and track for no apparent reason.

"Those are helicopter deterrents," a corrections official explains. "We are not really worried about a chopper escape attempt, but you've got to be prepared."
posted by Rhomboid at 4:14 AM on February 24, 2009


jamstigator: one of the two accomplices that hijacked the helicopter was apparently a woman.

Are you saying a woman can't have big balls?
posted by explosion at 4:15 AM on February 24, 2009


This is what the prison deserves for allowing prisoners access to air.
posted by DU at 5:35 AM on February 24, 2009


Here's a fun singalong song about breaking out of jail in a hijacked helicopter.
posted by stammer at 1:09 PM on February 24, 2009


A mere two helicopter prison escapes? This motherfucker has done it three times!
posted by blasdelf at 12:03 AM on February 25, 2009


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