Super Typhoon Haiyan Allowed 117 Prisoners to Swim Out of Jail

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Part of the typhoon recovery effort in the Philippines now apparently involves tracking down over 100 prisoners who rode Haiyan's surging waves to their escape from Tacloban City Jail. Joseph Nunez, a jail warden, told Reuters that the prisoners were freed from their cells for their safety and so that they could seek higher ground.  That's when they decided to take their chances with the storm and make a break for it, by swimming through the storm surge. 

A group of prisoners roaming free on an island in the middle of a gigantic storm already sounds like a Hollywood thriller. It kinda makes you think about what you would do if you were a convicted criminal: take your chances with the storm or the Philippine prison system?

Reuters explains that 14 of those 117 were accounted for by late Tuesday night, bringing the number of prisoners on the loose to 103. Some of them turned themselves in. Those 103 remaining prisoners are one more headache for Filipino officials, who are already dealing with deadly looting and are worrying about the increasing crime in the wake of the storm.  Not mention the problems attempting to feed and shelter nearly four million displaced refugees.

The prisoners who survived the storm, who have offenses ranging from burglary to rape and murder, are now on the run from correction officers armed with M-16s, Reuters reports.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.