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Alcatraz escape remains a mystery 55 years on

Posted on Sunday, 11 June, 2017 | Comment icon 10 comments

The prison was said to be impossible to escape from. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Centpacrr
Today marks the 55th anniversary of the escape of three men from the 'inescapable' Alcatraz prison.
Located in San Francisco Bay and surrounded by treacherous tidal currents, the prison's impenetrable walls and closely guarded cells made it practically impossible to escape from.

This didn't stop bank robbers Clarence Anglin, John Anglin and Frank Morris from giving it a go, however. On June 11th 1962, the men pulled off one of the most audacious escapes in history.

To escape their cells, the men spent six months painstakingly digging a tunnel out of the concrete using sharpened spoons. To keep the guards off their backs on the night of their escape they fashioned dummy heads from soap, paper and hair to place in their beds.

Once they managed to reach the water's edge, the men put together an inflatable raft made from raincoats and set off in to the fast-flowing water in an effort to reach safety. All three of them however disappeared that night and their fate has remained a mystery ever since.

While there have been recent reports and rumors suggesting that some of the men may have managed to reach safety, there has never been any concrete explanation of what happened.

Did the waters of the bay drag them to their deaths or did they manage to reach the shoreline ? Even if they did somehow survive, how did they live out their lives afterwards ?

After more than five decades, its a mystery that may never truly be solved.

Source: | Comments (10)

Tags: Alcatraz

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by regi on 11 June, 2017, 17:45
I think this is a story that will continue to captivate yet remain a mystery because it doesn't appear to me as though there will ever exist definitive proof as to whether they survived. Of course, I've considered that it was possible, but I don't believe they did. 
Comment icon #2 Posted by Myles on 12 June, 2017, 10:49
I agree, we will never know.   I can't think of a reason why they would come forward.
Comment icon #3 Posted by DanL on 12 June, 2017, 12:35
One thing about it. Whether they escaped or died trying they evidently didn't cause any further problems. In some ways being a famous escaped felon is almost as restrictive as being in prison unless you want to be caught and sent back and locked up tight forever. Very few common criminals have the sort of self-restraint that it would take to lay low forever and never contact their families or anyone.
Comment icon #4 Posted by simplybill on 12 June, 2017, 13:16
Like the D. B. Cooper case, this one is always intriguing.  This documentary may have been discussed here before: "That friend claims the Anglin brothers told him they body surfed behind a ferry leaving Alcatraz before being picked up by an accomplice boat. It’s currently one of the most popular theories supporting their escape to freedom after digging out of their cells with spoons."
Comment icon #5 Posted by simplybill on 12 June, 2017, 13:28
I did the Alcatraz tour about 20 years ago. Really fascinating! They even had one of the former COs there to field questions afterward. Alcatraz would've been a bad place to be incarcerated. The cells weren't heated, and that San Francisco fog can get pretty chilly in the wintertime.   
Comment icon #6 Posted by simplybill on 12 June, 2017, 13:43
Like the notorious mob enforcer, Sammy 'The Bull' Gravano, who testified against the Mafia and went into the Witness Protection Program, and then got busted for selling drugs a few years later. I may have to re-watch My Blue Heaven:
Comment icon #7 Posted by taniwha on 13 June, 2017, 8:10
That place sounds like a real life hell hole and a hell interesting tour? Did you get answers to your questions? Underdogs inspire me. I like to believe he made it....  
Comment icon #8 Posted by simplybill on 13 June, 2017, 12:09
I didn't really have any questions after the tour, but my stepmom took a picture with the CO, who was a handsome Native American man. She was quite smitten. I just now read a couple of articles about the place. Alcatraz may not have been too bad, compared to modern-day Supermax prisons: 10. Inmates requested transfers to Alcatraz. While Alcatraz was certainly not Club Med, its tough-as-nails reputation was a bit of a Hollywood creation. The prison’s one-man-per-cell policy appealed to some inmates because it made them less vulnerable to attack by fellow jailbirds. Alcatraz’s first warden, Jame... [More]
Comment icon #9 Posted by paperdyer on 14 June, 2017, 19:46
I took the tour as well about 20 years ago.  The place is a hell hole.  I really don't see how anyone could have made off there alive or in one piece.  Of course the seals that sun bath in the harbor could have helped them.  Who knows.
Comment icon #10 Posted by simplybill on 15 June, 2017, 16:49
I didn't know about this: "Only 2,000 superb athletes, chosen in a lottery the previous October each year, are allowed to brave freezing waters, twisting roads and rocky paths to brag that they were able to swim to safety where the U.S. Government’s Federal Prison system thought no one could ever survive… let alone doing so right before riding a bike on San Francisco’s hills and running a foot race."

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