A PRISON sentence is supposed to be one of the toughest forms of punishment, but a series of jailbreaks suggest they are almost too easy to get out of.
From a brazen helicopter rescue to a contortionist-style squeeze through a cell food slot, these are the world's most outrageous prison escapes.
British police are today continuing their search for suspected tourist Daniel Abed Khalife, 21, who fled South West London's HMP Wandsworth on Wednesday morning.
It has been revealed he broke out by hanging-upside down under a van that was waved through the front gates of the prison.
The getaway was described by security experts as something you would only expect to see in "old World War Two films".
Khalife, an ex-soldier who was charged over a bomb hoax incident at an RAF base, had been working in the prison kitchen and was wearing red chequered chef's trousers when he made his way to the delivery area armed with makeshift straps.
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An insider told The Sun: "He slipped under the delivery van dropping off groceries at the kitchen and strapped himself under the vehicle."
They said the van was given a "cursory inspection" before it was waved through the main gates and Khalife "disappeared into thin air".
His disappearance was not immediately noticed and prison officers allegedly did not inform police of Khalife's escape until an hour after it happened.
The breakout is the latest in a succession of abscondence from high-profile prisons, with some escaping more than once.
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Notorious French gangster and two-time jailbreaker Rédoine Faïd, 51, is currently on trial for alleged crimes related to him fleeing Réau prison, southeast of Paris, in a helicopter in 2018.
It is alleged he was with his brother Brahim when the hijacked rotorcraft landed in the courtyard, flown by a pilot with an assault rifle pointed at his head.
One of Faïd's alleged accomplices used a circular power saw to cut open the gate to the prison cell corridor, with smoke grenades reducing visibility and allowing the master criminal to make his way to the helicopter.
Faïd had been serving a 25-year sentence for a failed robbery, during which a police officer was killed, and was on the run for 95 days before being caught by police and returned to jail.
He was by then no novice in escaping, having first decamped from Northern France Sequedin Prison in 2013 just 30 minutes after he arrived at the facility.
The "jailbreak king" took four guards hostage and used them as human shields while blowing five doors off with dynamite smuggled inside.
He was arrested a few weeks later and given a ten-year sentence.
Prisoners who have managed to escape their confines have employed a range of tactics to do so, with Mexico's richest drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman's perhaps the most infamous of recent times.
The notorious criminal fled a maximum security prison in 2015 using a one-mile tunnel connected to the shower area in his cell.
Footage shot by ABC News revealed a well-lit underground passage connected to the outside world, built to accommodate Guzman's height of five feet and six inches.
Authorities estimated the people who dug the tunnel must have removed about 379 truckloads of dirt.
In 2012, a yoga master arrested on suspicion of robbery managed to escape a detention cell in a Daegu, South Korea police station.
Choi Gap-bok slipped out of the slammer by applying skin ointment to the upper part of his body and squeezing through a tiny 5.9 inches by 17.7 inches food slot at the bottom of his cell in an exercise which took just 34 seconds.
The "Korean Houdini" tucked pillows beneath blankets on his bed to trick guards into thinking he was still inside, but was discovered six days later hiding in a cardboard box about 30km south of Daegu.
In 1995, Keith Rose, Andrew Rodger, and Matthew Williams combined forces to fashion a 25-foot steel ladder, and tools including a gun and a key to jail doors, for their escape plan.
The trio waited until it was their designated exercise time and the prison guards were distracted to open the back door of the yard.
They walked straight out, cut a hole in the prison's inner fence, and used their ladder to scale the outer fence, enjoying freedom for just four days before they were caught hiding in a shed.
Jail inmates Frank Morris, John and Clarence Anglin, and Allen West famously broke out of Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary in 1962 by using discarded saw blades, metal spoons, and an improvised electric drill to widen the ventilation ducts beneath the sinks in their adjacent cells.
They concealed their efforts with painted cardboard and the sound of an accordion being played by ringleader Morris'.
The group used stolen and donated materials to build an inflatable rubber raft, with all except West eventually passing through the holes they created and climbing a ventilation shaft to the roof and reaching freedom.
They covered their tracks by leaving papier-mâché dummy heads on their pillows and towels and clothing beneath blankets on their beds and so were not realised to be missing until the following morning.
It was determined, following a 17-year FBI investigation, that the prisoners most likely drowned while attempting to reach Angel Island, after remnants of the raft they built were discovered on a beach.
West failed in his escape attempt and remained on Alcatraz Island until the prison was deactivated in 1963.
The first time American gangster John Herbert Dillinger broke out of prison, he did so with the help of five former convict friends who he had earlier assisted in their own escape.
The group, now known as "the First Dillinger Gang", impersonated Indiana State Police officers and killed the sheriff at the Lima jail where Dillinger was incarcerated before releasing him from his cell.
He was captured in 1934 but managed to escape the county jail in Crown Point, Indiana along with 15 other inmates during morning exercises.
Dillinger produced a pistol but left the facility without firing a shot, leading to doubts over its legitimacy.
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The fugitive was eventually discovered and, realising he was being watched, ran with a pistol in his hand.
He was shot by three FBI agents and pronounced dead 20 minutes later while in hospital.
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