The Mysterious Escape From Alcatraz

Posted by M ws On Tuesday, June 12, 2012 0 comments
To me, San Francisco is one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in this world. Even though I have visited San Francisco twice, I never had the chance to visit Alcatraz.

According to Wikipedia:

Alcatraz Island is located in the San Francisco Bay, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) offshore from San Francisco, California, United States. Often referred to as "The Rock", the small island was developed with facilities for a lighthouse, a military fortification, a military prison (1868), and a federal prison from 1933 until 1963.

Beginning in November 1969, the island was occupied for more than 19 months by a group of American Indians from San Francisco who were part of a wave of Indian activism across the nation with public protests through the 1970s. In 1972 Alcatraz became a national recreation area and received designation as a National Historic Landmark in 1986.

Today, the island's facilities are operated by the National Park Service as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area; it is open to tours. Visitors can reach the island by ferry ride from Pier 33, near Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. In 2008 the nation's first hybrid propulsion ferry started serving the island. (MORE HERE)

According to a very interesting article about Alcatraz written by Alastair Leithead in BBC NEWS:

Those who ran Alcatraz liked to say nobody ever escaped alive.

But that hasn't stopped US marshals from continuing the search for three men who made it off the island 50 years ago. According to the official version, Frank Morris, and the brothers John and Clarence Anglin were presumed drowned in the cold and choppy waters of San Francisco Bay.

There are plenty of people who think they did make it ashore and have been in hiding ever since.

Rumour had it they would return to the prison turned tourist spot on the 50th anniversary of their escape. Although it's not certain where the urban myth began, US Marshal Michael Dyke spent the day on the island anyway, just in case.

Papier-mache heads

Most prisoners who tried to flee "The Rock", as it became known, were captured or killed or drowned.

But this was one of the most daring and intricate escapes in the notorious prison's history - involving spoons, papier-mache heads and rubber raincoats.

It began by digging away at the concrete around the air vents in their cells with spoons and a drill-like device fashioned from a vacuum cleaner.

A seagull flies over Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary on Alcatraz Island 2 July 2003 Alcatraz was closed in 1963, a year after the escape

Accordion practice muffled the sound of the drilling, and cardboard was carefully used to cover each hole as it grew. Soap became a substitute for removed rivets.

When the time came, they squeezed through into a utility corridor and headed for the roof.

Guards doing their rounds periodically checked on the faces of their prisoners. The three escapees appeared to be sleeping soundly, the guards were unaware they were papier-mache heads with real hair, harvested from the prison barber shop.

The three made it up to the roof, and despite the searchlights, headed over high barbed-wire fences.

At a watchtower blind spot they used improvised bellows to inflate a raft fashioned from rubber raincoats.

A fourth member of the gang had been unable to remove his air vent quickly enough, and by the time he broke through, the others had already cast off into San Francisco Bay - to their deaths or to freedom - depending on what you believe.

CLICK HERE for the rest of the entry.

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