Quebec premier says finding prison escapees top priority

The three inmates missing from a Quebec prison. Handout

MONTREAL – Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said his top priority is re-capturing three men who escaped from jail in a helicopter.

The trio fled the Orsainville Detention Centre in suburban Quebec City on Saturday evening after a chopper landed in a courtyard, scooped them up and quickly took off.

Watch: Quebec prison security loosened before jailbreak

Police said they face numerous serious charges, including gangsterism and murder.

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Deputy Premier Lise Theriault said security restrictions against the three men were eased just a day before their daring getaway.

Theriault said a judge granted a request by the trio on Friday to have more flexible detention conditions, including the possibility they no longer be obliged to wear handcuffs.

The minister said she doesn’t know why the judge agreed to the request.

The spectacular escape dominated question period in the national assembly yesterday, with Theriault peppered on the subject for more than 30 minutes.

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