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Three men escape Canadian jail using helicopter

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Denis Lefebvre (Photo: Quebec Government)

(CNN) — In a daring, movie-worthy operation, three men escaped from a Canadian jail by helicopter, prompting a massive manhunt, local media reported.

The men escaped from a detention center in Quebec City using a green helicopter Saturday night, CNN partner CBC reported. It’s unclear how they pulled it off — authorities are still working to get more details.

“We are talking closely with the detention center to figure out exactly how the escape transpired,” Ann Mathieu, a spokeswoman for Quebec Provincial Police, told CBC. “The priority number one is to find the helicopter.”

A manhunt is under way for Yves Denis Yvon Lamontagne, 35, Denis Lefebvre, 53, and Serge Pomerleau, 49.

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Serge Pomerleau (Photo: Quebec Government)

The first two were arrested in a drug bust in 2010 and were awaiting trial, according to CBC. Police found weapons, dozens of cars and a plane during the bust, it said. CBC did not provide information on the third suspect.

This is the second brazen jail escape in Canada in a little over a year.

In March 2013, two men posing as tourists commandeered a helicopter from a Canadian tour company, ordered the pilot to fly over a detention center near Montreal, hoisted two inmates into the hovering aircraft using cables — and zipped away.

It was a real “James Bond moment,” witness Francis Emond said about last year’s escape from the facility in Saint -Jerome, northwest of Montreal.

While spectacular, airborne escapes are not unheard of.

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Yves Denis Yvon Lamontagne (Photo: Quebec Government)

Albanian inmate Alket Rizaj broke out of a maximum security prison in Greece twice — in 2006 and 2009.

On both occasions, accomplices swooped in to the prison’s courtyard on helicopters. Inmates then climbed aboard using rope ladders.

Both times, Rizaj was recaptured.

Last year, another prison escape in Greece tried to use the same tactic.

But the plot was foiled when the prisoner was shot and the chopper was forced to land on the prison parking lot.

In 1971, Joel David Kaplan escaped from a Mexican jail aboard a helicopter. The New Yorker’s flight inspired the book “The 10-Second Jailbreak: The Helicopter Escape of Joel David Kaplan” and the 1975 movie “Breakout.”

And in France, Pascal Payet escaped not once, not twice, but three times from French prisons.

Each time, he was recaptured.

CNN’s Holly Yan contributed to this report

™ & © 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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