Redoine Faid, an infamous French gangster who was serving a 25-year sentence for a botched armed bank robbery that killed a police officer, made the daring escape on Sunday morning after a trio of armed accomplices hijacked a helicopter, landed it in the yard of the Sud-Francilien prison outside Paris, and burst into the building to grab him. The whole operation went down in a matter of minutes, and all while Faid was in a special visitor's area of the jail chatting with his brother who'd come to see him. As of this writing, they're all still on the lam, and there's a massive manhunt underway to catch everyone involved.
To pull the whole thing off, the heavily armed accomplices reportedly hijacked a helicopter from an airfield near the prison and forced a flying instructor waiting for a student to assist them. They then landed it in one of the jail's courtyard's, grabbed Faid at gunpoint, and fled to an area nearby where they torched the chopper and hopped into a getaway car. Eventually, they hopped into a different getaway vehicle (torching the first one), and have since evaded authorities. The helicopter pilot was released unharmed, though he did have to go to the hospital to be treated for shock.
In the wake of the incident, French Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet traveled to the prison, and described the escape as "spectacular." Interestingly, the courtyards and open-air areas of French prisons are almost all protected with netting to prevent this exact sort of thing from happening after a spate of similar helicopter escapes in the late 2000s. However, there wasn't one installed in this particular one because it was reportedly only used by inmates when they were being admitted or released from the facility.