From the France helicopter escape to 'El Chapo' Guzman, a look back at 6 of the most recent daring jailbreaks

From the upstate New York prison break to "El Chapo" Guzman's second escape.

— -- From Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman’s second notorious escape from a Mexican prison to Alabama inmates' creative use of peanut butter to trick a guard into opening a jail door, some recent real-life prison breaks have been so daring they rival fictional escapes such as the one in the 1994 film "The Shawshank Redemption."

Here's a look back at six of the most recent daring jailbreaks:

Helicopter breaks notorious criminal free from French prison

Redoine Faid, one of France’s most notorious criminals, dramatically escaped from the Reau Prison near Paris by helicopter this weekend.

In an elaborately orchestrated escape, heavily armed commandos landed a hijacked helicopter on the prison grounds Sunday, overwhelmed the guards and whisked Faid to freedom in just a "few minutes," officials said.

“It was a spectacular escape," French Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet said during a news conference Sunday.

Three armed accomplices had hijacked the helicopter with its flight instructor and forced him at gunpoint to land in the prison courtyard, Belloubet said.

"Two commandos entered the prison to look for Redoine Faid as the third man was staying with the helicopter instructor," Belloubet said. "The two men used a grinding machine to open the door to the visiting room where Faid was and picked him up and left."

The commandos also used smoke bombs to shield their movements from cameras, Belloubet said.

Faid was in a room visiting with his brother when the commandos burst in, grabbed Faid and hustled him to the helicopter, Belloubet said.

About 2,900 police officers were involved in the manhunt for the escaped criminal.

Inmates use peanut butter in Alabama escape

A dozen Alabama inmates cooked up a plot to hoodwink a new employee at the Walker County Jail last year, using peanut butter to trick the staffer into opening an alternate door, Walker County Sheriff James Underwood said.

A recent hire at the jail was in the control room keeping count of inmates in July 2017 when some inmates asked to have a door opened, Underwood said. But the inmates had used peanut butter from jailhouse sandwiches to trick the staffer.

“They had changed the number over the door with peanut butter, they hollered, 'Hey, open the door...,' but that door number was the outside door, and [unbeknownst] to him, he hit that lock and out the door they went,” Underwood said.

Underwood said the inmates threw blankets over a razor wire fence so they could climb over and escape.

The 12 escapees were later caught.

"This is one time we slipped up," Underwood said. "I'm never going to make any excuses -- it was a human error that caused this to happen."

Southern California inmates record their own jailbreak

In January 2016, three men broke out of a maximum security wing of the Orange County Jail in Southern California and, using a contraband cellphone, documented their escape.

The video shows one of the men lift a sawed-off bunk bed leg, revealing a metal screen that was already cut open. He then disappears into the vent, crawling through plumbing pipes inside the jail. An inmate even stops to give a thumbs-up to the camera before finally reaching the jail roof.

The video also shows the inmates when they are in Northern California while on the run.

One of the escapees, Tien Duong, turned himself into authorities a week after the escape, and the other two, Hoseein Nayer and Jonathan Tieu, were caught in San Francisco, 400 miles away from the jail, eight days after the jailbreak.

At the time of the escape, Duong had been facing charges of attempted murder, while Tieu was charged with murder and Nayeri was charged with torture and kidnapping. All three inmates pleaded not guilty to the charges. The cases remain ongoing. The three men are facing new charges for their escape as well. They are scheduled to be arraigned later this month.

Two convicted killers break out of a New York prison

Sweat and Matt used power tools to cut through the back of their cells, broke through a brick wall and cut into a steam pipe which they then slid through. They finally emerged outside the prison walls through a manhole, officials said.

They had arranged hoodies and other clothing in their sheets to make it appear as if they were in their beds, officials said, leaving behind a note that read, "Have a nice day."

Their escape launched the largest manhunt in the history of New York State Police. After weeks on the run, Matt was shot and killed. Days after Matt was found, Sweat was recaptured and is now being housed in a different New York prison.

A female prison tailor-shop employee played a vital role in helping the killers escape, and she has since been convicted and sent to prison herself. She allegedly smuggled hacksaw blades, chisels and other tools into the prison in frozen hamburger meat, which a guard later gave to the inmates. She also allegedly bought six hacksaw blades and gave them directly to Matt, according to the report from the New York inspector general.

The prison employee had planned to flee with the killers and had promised to provide the getaway car, but she got cold feet the night of the escape and didn't show up.

El Chapo's second prison escape

Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, who spent more than 10 years on the run after escaping from prison in 2001, made another break in July 2015.

His second escape, from the Altiplano maximum-security prison near Mexico City, was discovered when guards went to his cell and found a 2-square-foot opening in the shower area.

From there, a ladder led to a tunnel. The tunnel extended for about a mile underground and featured an adapted motorcycle on rails that officials believe was used to transport the tools used to create the tunnel.

The tunnel led to a home outside of the prison's property, where a small exit was found in the floor of one of the building's rooms, which officials believed Guzman used to leave the tunnel and escape to freedom.

Guzman was recaptured in January 2016 and has since been extradited to the U.S. He is in custody in New York City.

A notorious school-shooter's short-lived escape

T.J. Lane, who as a teen in 2012 killed three people in a shooting spree at Chardon High School in Ohio, briefly escaped from an Ohio prison in 2014 with two other inmates.

According to, state-commissioned reports found that the inmates spent months building a 13 1/2-foot ladder from materials they found after breaking into a locked space.

In September 2014, the three inmates made their escape. They took the ladder through an unoccupied area of the prison and used it to climb to the roof of the prison's administration building, an official said, according to The men then jumped 15 feet to the ground and escaped through a soybean field, according to

Lane, who was serving three life sentences, was recaptured several hours later about 100 yards from the prison.

The other two escapees were also caught.

Lane's brief escape so alarmed the city of Chardon that the school district canceled classes and left the schools closed, except for those who may have wanted counseling.

ABC News' Meghan Keneally, Whitney Lloyd, Bill Hutchinson and Mike Trew contributed to this report.