A massive manhunt was underway for two convicted murderers who cut through the wall of their cell with power tools to escape from the largest maximum security prison in the state located near the border with Canada, police said.
The two inmates were reported missing from the Clinton Correctional Facility, in Dannemora about 40 miles (65km) south of the Canadian province of Quebec, following a 5:30 a.m. bed check, New York State Police said.
The U.S. Marshals Service and FBI joined hundreds of officers searching for 48-year-old Richard Matt and 34-year-old David Sweat, according to the Associated Press.
Both inmates are considered a danger to the public, state police said.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo inspected the prison Saturday, describing the escape the first from the prison’s maximum security facility in its 150 year history, as “sophisticated”.
“There’s no doubt about that it was an extraordinary act,” Cuomo said during a news conference where he explained that two inmates used power tools to cut a hole in the steel backing of their cell, then crawl through a maze of tunnels and escaped through a manhole.
He said the two men had left items in their beds, like clothing, to make it appear as though they were asleep.
It was not yet known how they obtained power tools, officials said.