It sounds like something out of a movie, a prison escape so daring it almost seems improbable.
A convicted murderer climbed a rope-ladder into a commandeered helicopter today and escaped as guards fired at the chopper, according to a Russian news report.
The incident took place at a high-security penitentiary that houses about 1,700 prisoners in the Vologda region of Russia, just east of St. Petersburg. There, according to RIA Novosti, a prisoner named Alexei Shestakov was halfway through a 24-year sentence for murder.
The helicopter reportedly approached the prison this morning and dropped the rope-ladder. Shestakov scampered up and the aircraft darted away, dodging shots from prison guards who tried in vain to prevent the escape, according to RIA Novosti.
The Russian news agency reported that the helicopter crew was forced to fly toward the prison by the escapee's accomplices.
"At the scheduled time today, the helicopter's crew landed it at the designated place, taking on board a man and a woman," an Interior Ministry spokesman said. "After the aircraft took off, they drew guns and forced the pilot to hover above the penal colony and throw out a rope. The convict used the rope to climb on board."
Police eventually caught the escaped convict, who was "slightly injured" after refusing to surrender when cornered by law enforcement. The people who helped him escape are reportedly still at large.