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100 prisoners escape on hurricane-hit British island

Updated September 13, 2017

LONDON: Over 100 high-risk prisoners escaped in the British Virgin Islands during Hurricane Irma, a British junior minister said on Tuesday, as he raised the death toll in British territories to nine.

“We had a serious threat of a complete breakdown of law and order in the British Virgin islands (BVI),” junior foreign minister Alan Duncan told parliament.

“The prison was breached, over 100 very serious prisoners escaped,” he said.

Duncan said Royal Marines were deployed to cope with the threat but did not disclose how many prisoners had been recovered or how many were still at large.

“We have maintained and kept law and order on the BVI, which at one point, could have dramatically threatened the already unfortunate plight of those who had been hit by the hurricane,” he said.

The Daily Telegraph said notes from a cabinet meeting that were leaked to the press on Tuesday suggested as many as 60 had yet to be recaptured.

“We are working with St Lucia and BVI authorities to secure the transfer to St Lucia of 40 high-risk prisoners that have escaped in BVI,” the briefing notes were reported as saying.

Dutch authorities denied rumours on Saturday that dozens of prisoners had escaped after a prison collapsed on the Dutch side of Saint Martin — known as Sint Maarten.

Published in Dawn, September 13th, 2017