If the upcoming fifth series of Prison Break is searching for inspiration, it need look no further than these real-life breakouts.
After seven years without the elaborate drama Prison Break, fans can rejoice at the news that Michael Scofield is back from the dead and his brother Lincoln Burrows is again on hand to engineer the series’ biggest escape ever.
In the new season set for release in early 2017, Scofield is holed up in Morroco and apparently he had neither the time nor enough skin space to get an escape plan from his new jailhouse as a tattoo.
So just how is he going to get out this time? He could take some tips from these real-life prison breaks.
BECOME A YOGA MASTER
You know the small opening in a cell door through which food is passed to prisoners? Choi Hap-bok, dubbed the “Korean Houdini”, escaped through that very same slot. The then 50-year-old had been practising yoga for over twenty years when he put his talents to use after being arrested for burglary.
On the sixth day of his stay, the 5-foot-4-inches South Korean applied skin ointment to his body and squeezed his way headfirst through the opening, which was only 15 centimetres high and 45 centimetres wide.
It took him less than a minute to achieve the feat, but within six days his taste of freedom was at an end after he was caught and brought back to jail. This time they put him in a cell with a smaller food slot.
INVENT A GOOD STORY
The life of professional fraudster Frank Abagnale was brought to the big screen in Catch Me If You Can starring Leonardo DiCaprio, but if you thought impersonating pilots, doctors and lawyers was outlandish, nothing compares to how he coolly escaped from prison.
After he was incarcerated in 1971, Abagnale convinced the guards that he was in fact an undercover inspector pretending to be an inmate and sent there to spy on them. They fell for it and he was treated better than any other prisoner. Then just a few weeks later, he walked out of the front door.
Today he is legally on the loose working as a security consultant and lecturer for the FBI academy and field offices, but if they try and put him behind bars again…
GET CREATIVE WITH SHOE POLISH
The bank robber John Dillinger escaped twice during his legendary career. The first time his partners helped him break out of an Ohio jail, but it wasn’t long before he was arrested again and put in an apparently escape-proof prison.
Dillinger didn’t think so and made his exit from the Crown Point, Indiana, jail after little more than a month. This time he fashioned a fake gun made from a razor handle, a block of wood and a coat of shoe polish, rounded up several guards and got his hands on a real firearm, before stealing the sheriff’s car and completing his escape.
DON’T WASTE ANY TIME
Julien Chautard immediately wanted to turn back when he ended up in Pentonville jail in London back in 2009, and the arsonist managed just that when the perfect opportunity arose during his short stay.
The Frenchman had just arrived at the prison and while the other inmates were being unloaded, he crept under the van that had brought them in and clung to the underside as it left. It was a cunning escape, but after a few weeks Chautard voluntarily surrendered to the police.
CREATE A DOPPELGANGER
In the 29 years that Alcatraz was in operation, there were fourteen attempts to escape the prison island, all to no avail. In 1962, though, inmates Frank Morris and brothers John and Clarence Anglin achieved the seemingly impossible by getting out.
The trio climbed through an air shaft and up to the roof of their cell block before escaping from the island on a boat they had fashioned from raincoats. To make sure they had time on their hands, they built dummy heads from plaster, flesh-tone paint and real human hair, which they lay in their beds to fool the guards.
The night shift officers didn’t notice anything was amiss, and yet it remains unclear if Morris and the brothers survived their escape. No traces were found of the fugitives and though some say they drowned in the San Francisco Bay, others believe they made it all the way to Brazil.