Two convicted murderers on the loose after New York prison escape

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 07, 2015 9:55 AM

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A manhunt overnight failed to find two convicted murderers who used power tools to break out of their cells and have been on the run for at least a day after escaping from a maximum security prison in upstate New York, officials said on Sunday.

Local, state and federal authorities set up roadblocks and combed woods in their search for Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 34, who went missing early Saturday morning from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, about 20 miles (30 kms) south of the Canadian border.

"These are two dangerous individuals ... and they are nothing to be trifled with," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told a news conference on Saturday.

"It was elaborate. It was sophisticated," he said of their escape.

The two men were in adjoining cells and drilled holes in walls to break out of them. They then went through a series of catwalks and tunnels to clear prison grounds and escaped through a manhole on a street, officials said.

They used clothing to make it look like they were sleeping in their beds.

"We don't yet know how they acquired the tools," Anthony Annucci, acting commissioner of the New York State Department of Corrections, told the same news conference.

Matt is serving 25 years to life on three counts of murder, kidnapping and robbery and was received into the prison system in 2008, online records showed.

Sweat, 34, is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for the murder of a sheriff's deputy and was received into the prison system in 2003.

(Writing by Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas, editing by David Evans)