NEWS

Helicopter swoops for Korydallos break out

Two men escaped from Korydallos Prison at 6.25 p.m. yesterday after they apparently hijacked a helicopter which landed on the grounds of the maximum security jail in western Athens. The helicopter landed at a cemetery in Schisto, a short distance from the prison, where the two convicts and two accomplices sped off on motorbikes. The helicopter pilot told police that the two accomplices had threatened him with guns and hand grenades, forcing him to conduct the flight after taking off from Aghios Cosmas in southern Athens. Initial unconfirmed reports suggested that one of the two accomplices who had threatened the pilot was Nikos Palaiocostas, Greece’s most wanted robber. Palaiocostas has evaded at least five police operations in the last three years aimed at arresting him. He escaped from Korydallos Prison in 1990. A statement by the Justice Ministry said that one of the escaped convicts was Palaiocostas’s brother, Vassilis. The other escapee was named as Alket Rizai, thought to be an Albanian drug dealer. Justice Minister Anastassis Papaligouras ordered a preliminary investigation into the break-out.