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The director of the Bellechasse prison in the canton of Fribourg said a moment of inattention led to the escape of five prisoners.
Paul-André Morandi told public television the now-fugitive prisoners were in a workshop of 14 prisoners, supervised by two guards.
The prisoners ran out, and went through a hole in the prison fence, possibly cut beforehand, finding a getaway car waiting for them.
Morandi said it was the most prisoners he had ever seen escape in 22 years.
Fribourg cantonal police dubbed the fugitives “somewhat dangerous,” and the search is on-going.