- Several prisoners attempted to escape the Alcatraz Prison but the result was a failure except for these three: Frank Morris and the Anglin brothers, John and Clarence Anglin.
- Majority knows about the three fugitives but there were originally four who planned the escape. The plan initiator, Allan West.
Their first plan was to make an arrangement with the prison governor for their cells to be placed nearly with each of the members. After a few days, their request was granted. Inside their own cells, they secretly dug holes on the sides of the air ventilations to fit their bodies when crawling. They used metal spoons for digging. They mold the spoons to be sharper and more appropriate to carve the cemented wall.
In Alcatraz Prison
There was a regular event called music hour. During these hours, the prisoners were given a chance to play different musical instruments as a recreational activity. The created musical sounds dominated the carving noises. The fugitives also improvised their tools by making an electric drill out of a vacuum cleaner motor.
As days went by, the holes became larger that their bodies eventually fit in. They hid the holes using their musical instruments. The holes were connected to the back of their cells which served as their workstation where they crafted different materials to be used during the escape.
They made an improvised periscope, an apparatus used with submerged objects such as submarines. They used it to know if there was a warden approaching nearby. To cover their absence, they made artificial heads which were placed under their blankets to look like they are sleeping. The dummy heads were made of soap, tooth paste, fine sand and toilet papers.
During nightfall, they used to meet at their workstation to craft their tools and to plan their next steps. They made a transportation tool that will be used to cross the ocean of San Francisco. To create this, they stole and manually stitched fifty pieces of raincoats inside the prison. They molded the raincoats in the shape of a boat with the concept of an air bed. They stole spare screws and woods to create the boat’s paddle.
On June 11, 1962, they attempted to escape the Alcatraz prison before dawn. At that time, Allan West was stranded and did not make it on time because his body didn’t fit on the hole. The three prisoners left proceeded to their escape plan even if it was just the three of them.
Frank and the two Anglin brothers headed towards the air ventilation. They used their crafted wrenches to open it. The warden heard a loud thud from their cells but because the sound was just heard for once, the guards did not bother. They brought their things and made their way to the roof and headed towards the pipe. After sliding on the pipe, the next obstacle was how to get past the two tall walls made of steel. They helped each other to climb and after a few minutes, they got past the walls and headed towards the side of the island where the spotlight never reaches and when they got the opportunity, they blew their improvised boat.
This plan was a huge gamble but one thing is for sure, teamwork works.