Share article:
Share article:

Four arrested in case of hijacked helicopter

© Maroun Labaki/Twitter

Police have made four arrests in connection with the hijacking of a helicopter yesterday in Deurne in Antwerp.

The aircraft had been chartered in advance, ostensibly for a TV crew to make aerial shots of the prisons for a report. Three men approached the pilot, a 35-year-old woman, and forced her at gunpoint to take them into the air and head for Brussels. There, they overflew the prisons of Saint-Gilles and Forest, as well as the Berkendael women’s prison in Forest commune.

Prison authorities were alerted after a member of the public notified police of the suspicious movements of the helicopter, which he captured on video from the vantage point of his apartment. The prisons carried out a head-count, suspecting an escape attempt, but none of the prisoners was missing.

The helicopter later left the area, and the men were let down at a car park at Hélécine in Walloon Brabant, where they disappeared.

The pilot flew on to Melsbroek air base outside Brussels and was interviewed by police.

Now four people are in custody, with charges of theft with possession of a weapon, criminal conspiracy, unlawful detention of a person and attempted prison escape.

Under Belgian law, although it is not a criminal offence for a prisoner to escape or attempt to escape, anyone assisting them is liable to criminal charges.

According to the latest reports, the four are a 24-year-old man from Tongeren and his 50-year-old adoptive father, arrested in the Brussels area. Some time later police apprehended an 18-year-old from Bilzen and a 22-year-old from Lanaken.  

The four will be interviewed by an investigating magistrate in the course of the afternoon.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Increase in number of people ‘asking King for mercy’ through royal pardons
More and more people living in Belgium have been seeking royal pardons, mainly for fines, largely as a result of it now being possible to send in ...
England now accepting cheaper Covid tests from fully vaccinated travellers
Fully vaccinated travellers who enter England from non-red countries will only be required to book a lateral flow test to take following their ...
Re-introducing face masks indoors considered as Covid-19 situation worsens
Belgium's council of ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the worsening epidemiological situation, and reintroducing face ...
Federal museums to receive €2.9 million booster shot
Federal museums will receive an additional €2.9 million in support from the government for the fiscal year 2021, of which the first payouts will be ...
European Parliament emphasises healthy food and animal welfare in EU Farm to Fork Strategy
The European Parliament adopted this week a resolution on the EU Farm to Fork Strategy calling for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food ...
Threats of strike action could affect Brussels’ STIB network from Monday
Brussels public transport operator STIB's trams, buses and metros could be affected from Monday 25 October onwards as the union representing the ...
Number of international adoptions in Belgium continues to drop
The number of regulated international adoptions authorised by Belgium further dropped in 2020, continuing an ongoing decreasing trend. Last ...
Disaster drill with emergency services held at Brussels Airport
Around 300 people took part in a disaster drill held was organised on Saturday by Brussels Airport in collaboration with external emergency services ...
Austria presents bill to legalise euthanasia
Austria’s government on Saturday presented its proposals for legalising assisted suicide, in response to a Constitutional Court ruling that the ...
Brussels’ Museum Night Fever draws in some 12,000 visitors
Some 12,000 participants took part in the 14th edition of Museum Night Fever in Brussels, with the 29 participating museums filled to the maximum ...
Relaunch of 10,000 steps campaign to get Flemish people moving
The Flemish government is breathing new life into its 10,000 steps campaign to get people in the region moving after a recent survey found that a ...
‘No scientific basis’ for giving everyone third dose, vaccine expert says
The head of Belgium's Vaccination Taskforce has argued that there is not enough scientific evidence to support the Flemish government's decision to ...