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  1. #1
    Baluchitherium
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    Default Alcatraz Escapee's "Could Have Survived"

    I have always found this topic fascinating:

    Prisoners of 'Ingenious' 1962 Alcatraz Escape Could Have Survived
    By Megan Gannon
    17 hours ago


    If they had timed their escape just right, three prisoners who slipped out of Alcatraz more than 50 years ago on a raft made from raincoats would have had a chance of survival, new research shows.

    Scientists who were studying the San Francisco Bay's strong tides reconstructed the possible routes of the audacious 1962 escape. The men might have been able to find shelter on an outcrop near the Golden Gate Bridge that is, if they weren't swept out to sea first, according to the study.

    From 1934 to 1963, during its time as a maximum high-security federal prison, Alcatraz hosted some of the 20th century's most notorious criminals, including gangsters Al Capone, Mickey Cohen and Whitey Bulger. The facility is perhaps most famous for its forbidding location, isolated on a rocky island in the middle of San Francisco Bay. [Photos: Hidden Fortress Beneath Alcatraz]

    In the three decades that Alcatraz was in operation, there were only 14 escape attempts involving 36 men, according to the FBI. Nearly all of the escapees were caught or died. But on the night of June 11, 1962, three inmates left Alcatraz in one of the most mysterious prison breaks in American history.

    John Anglin, his brother Clarence Anglin and Frank Morris tucked dummy heads into their bed sheets and snuck into an unused utility corridor through holes they had crudely drilled through their cells. Then, from the prison roof, they shimmied down the bakery smoke stack and climbed over the fence. From the northeast shore of the island, they floated away from the prison on a small raft made from more than 50 stolen raincoats that were inflated with a musical instrument that was converted into a pump. Even the FBI still calls the plan "ingenious" on its website.

    After a 17-year investigation, federal authorities concluded that the men most likely drowned during the escape, and the FBI maintains it has no credible evidence that the men are alive in the United States or overseas. But that official word has hardly stopped alternate theories from
    cropping up. The TV show "MythBusters" has tackled the escape, concluding that it's possible the three men could have paddled to safety.



    A group of Dutch hydraulic experts recently decided to take a crack at the prison break while they were modeling San Francisco Bay to study flood risk and the impact of sea-level rise. The scientists simulated dozens of possible routes the inmates could have taken on the night of their escape.

    "We didn't know exactly when the inmates launched their boats, or their precise starting point, and so we decided to release 50 'boats' every 30 minutes between 20:00 and 04:00 (11 p.m. and 4 a.m.) from a range of possible escape spots at Alcatraz to see where they would end up," Fedor Baart, a hydraulic engineer at the Netherlands-based research institute Deltares, said in a statement. "We added a paddling effect to the 'boats,' as we assumed the prisoners would paddle as they got closer to land."

    If the three men left Alcatraz any earlier than 11:30 p.m., they would have been swept out to sea by strong currents, Baart and his colleagues found. But if the prisoners set off on their raft between 11:30 and midnight, it's likely that they could have landed just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, at Horseshoe Bay. The models also show that any debris after the landing might have drifted toward Angel Island, north of Alcatraz, which is where the FBI found a paddle and some personal items linked to the men.

    "Of course, this doesn't prove this was what really happened, but the latest and best hydraulic modeling information indicates that it was certainly possible," another study author, Rolf Hut, of Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, said in a statement.

    The findings will be presented tomorrow (Dec. 16) at the 47th annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.
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  2. #2
    Master Bluesman Elwood P.'s Avatar
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    Fascinating! Clint made it in the movie. I think they did too.
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  3. #3
    Atomic Punk Dave's Dreidel's Avatar
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    Is it assumed that they got away since no bodies were ever found? Especially since some of their gear made it to shore, you would think they made it.
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    Hang 'Em High jetguy5150's Avatar
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    Mythbusters did a pretty thorough job of testing this starting from building the raft from the same materials the inmates would have had to leaving the island at the estimated time the escapees did. They were successful and gave it the ole "plausible" declaration.
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    Baluchitherium
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    Quote Originally Posted by jetguy5150 View Post
    Mythbusters did a pretty thorough job of testing this starting from building the raft from the same materials the inmates would have had to leaving the island at the estimated time the escapees did. They were successful and gave it the ole "plausible" declaration.
    Yep, I watched that and thought "Those fuckers made it" to myself.
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    On Fire Eddie's Littler Monster's Avatar
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    I've been involved in competitive swimming since I was 6 years old. Every year my team takes dozens of kids to San Francisco to do the Alcatraz Swim. They start on the island and swim to shore. Granted it's under supervision, in the daytime and these kids are competitive swimmers, but the swim itself is not that hard. Anyone who had even the most basic swimming knowledge could make it if they wanted to - if the currents were right of course.

  7. #7
    Baluchitherium
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie's Littler Monster View Post
    I've been involved in competitive swimming since I was 6 years old. Every year my team takes dozens of kids to San Francisco to do the Alcatraz Swim. They start on the island and swim to shore. Granted it's under supervision, in the daytime and these kids are competitive swimmers, but the swim itself is not that hard. Anyone who had even the most basic swimming knowledge could make it if they wanted to - if the currents were right of course.
    Or someone with the proper motivation. They all had pretty severe/long term sentences I believe so I would rather die in the bay than live at Alcatraz if i were them.
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    Atomic Punk edwardv's Avatar
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    Yeah I think they made it too then years later hijacked a plane and jumped out with 200 grand and a parachute.
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    Baluchitherium Scott's Avatar
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    I just assumed they did.

    According to the well rounded, an amazing documentary, The Rock...Sean Connery made it out - and then helped Nic Cage thwart an internal terrorist attack, after trashing downtown San Fran in a Hummer. I'm still not certain how San Fran recovered from that.
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  12. #10
    Atomic Punk Dave's Dreidel's Avatar
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    That was on recently, and I am ashamed to say I watched it and was entertained. As stupid as it was, it was mindless fun.

    "Try? Losers try...winners fuck the prom queen." Love that line.
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  14. #11
    Atomic Punk MF5150's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave's Dreidel View Post
    That was on recently, and I am ashamed to say I watched it and was entertained. As stupid as it was, it was mindless fun.

    "Try? Losers try...winners fuck the prom queen." Love that line.
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    Losers do their best.


    Winners fuck the prom queen"


    Thats the line

    That is easily in my Top 5 action movies of all time. And a SUPERB performance by Ed Harris as well.

    I like to watch the movie with the imaginary premise that Connery's character, John Mason, was, at one point in his life, James Bond. If you buy into the whole theory that James Bond is just an alias for the agent class of 007. I mean he does say that he worked for Her Majesty's SS.
    Last edited by MF5150; 12.16.14 at 04:20 PM.
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  16. #12
    Gird your loins Daisy Hill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie's Littler Monster View Post
    I've been involved in competitive swimming since I was 6 years old. Every year my team takes dozens of kids to San Francisco to do the Alcatraz Swim. They start on the island and swim to shore. Granted it's under supervision, in the daytime and these kids are competitive swimmers, but the swim itself is not that hard. Anyone who had even the most basic swimming knowledge could make it if they wanted to - if the currents were right of course.
    really? they do that? I always assumed it was a terrible swim...cold water, currents, distance...but still I also always thought that with the boats, they made it.

    the alcatraz tour is one of those things I always wanted to do.

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    Took a tour of Alcatraz as a kid. I would love to go back. I remember having one of those sort of Walkman things giving me a personalized audio tour. I would love to go back.

    I distinctly remember them saying that one of the sound effects in Star Wars revolving around Darth Vader was the sound of the cell doors slamming.

    I believe this guys got close. Their "raft" was found on another "island," and apparently the plan was to land in San Francisco, steal a car and clothes. While it was said a car was never stolen that night, it turns out a car WAS stolen that night. Another guy, related to Frank Morris, says he met up with him. The guy's daughter remembers meeting up with him.

    I think they made it. I bet we hear about this sometime in the future, like we did with Deep Throat. Some day, it will just come out that they made it and lived their lives.

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    Atomic Punk CaboChris's Avatar
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    I did the Alcatraz tour as a kid.

    I was obsessed with the prison from an early age. Got all the books I could get my hands on, about the prison's history.

    It coincided with my fascination with gangsters of the 1920's and 30's.

    They locked us in solitary confinement for a few minutes. Pitch black and very eerie. Would love to go back someday. Being raised in the Bay Area, we would often drive over the Bay Bridge, and I would always stare at the island with its mesmerizing lighthouse, blinking in the distance.

  19. #15
    Baluchitherium Ted Van Halen's Avatar
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    I think they made it and assumed new identities as Oswald, Ruby and Sirhan Sirhan.
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