Hundreds of inmates flee Peru prison after quake

August 18, 2007 04:34
1 minute read.
Hundreds of inmates flee Peru prison after quake

Peru quake 298.88. (photo credit: AP)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


As thousands of terrified Peruvians ran from falling buildings during a deadly earthquake, nearly 700 inmates took advantage of a collapsed prison wall to run to freedom. Wednesday's 8.0-magnitude temblor that devastated Peru's southern coast caused chaos inside the Tambo de Mora Prison on the outskirts of Chincha, just 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of the epicenter, police Lt. Jorge Soto said Friday. Built on the sandy soil of Peru's coastal desert, the lockup sank during the powerful quake and was severely damaged by a phenomenon called liquefaction, in which the prolonged shaking transforms loose, water-saturated sediments into a liquid slurry. "Tsunami, tsunami!" the inmates shouted mistakenly as almost 2 feet (0.6 meters) of muddy water rushed into their cells, said Soto, who works at the prison. Ceiling lights came crashing down, prison doors swung open, and the wall surrounding the prison crumbled. Soto said prison police desperately fired their weapons into the air to try to stop the inmates from escaping. But then "people in nearby houses also started to come out and everyone got mixed up," he said. "That's when we stopped shooting." When the shaking finally stopped after an agonizing two minutes, 90 percent of the prison was severely damaged and parts had collapsed, the National Penitentiary Institute said in a statement. "They weren't all just going to die inside," said Mirta Espinosa, whose husband, Daniel Vallejo, is one of the inmates. "They left to save their lives and see their families." Vallejo, 58, who has four years left in his five-year sentence for tax fraud, was one of 60 escapees who turned themselves into authorities Thursday and was waiting to be transferred to another jail. "He didn't want to be a fugitive," Espinosa said outside the prison. Twenty others were captured by authorities, and 607 were still missing Friday. Journalists were not allowed inside the prison, but Soto said most of the cells were still flooded with muddy water. In the town of Chincha the quake leveled scores of adobe homes and, according to some reports, killed as many as 170 people.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Thousands of people participate in Third Annual Women's March in Washington, US, January 19, 2019.
January 19, 2019
Third annual Women's March marked by antisemitism among its leadership