Scientists: Alcatraz prisoners could have survived

2014-12-18 12:35

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

San Francisco - The three prisoners who escaped from Alcatraz in one of the most famous and elaborate prison breaks in US history could have survived and made it to land, scientists concluded in a recent study.

The three Dutch scientists, using the latest hydraulic software and information about tides on the night of the 1962 escape, said the three men could have made it to land north of the Golden Gate Bridge if they left between 23:00 and midnight. If they left before 23:00, the strong currents of San Francisco Bay would have carried them to the Pacific Ocean and death, the scientists said.

Prison officials and federal agents insisted at the time of the escape that the inmates - brothers John and Clarence Anglin and Frank Morris - perished, but their bodies were never found, continuing speculation that they survived.

"Of course, this doesn't prove that" they survived, one of the scientists, Rolf Hut, a researcher at Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands, said in a news release about the study.

"But the latest and best hydraulic modelling information indicates that it was certainly possible."

The scientists presented their findings on Tuesday at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco.

The three prisoners were serving sentences for bank robbery when they pulled off the escape with stolen spoons, dummy heads and a raincoat raft. Their exploits were turned into the 1979 movie, "Escape from Alcatraz", starring Clint Eastwood as Morris.

US Marshal Michael Dyke, who inherited the unsolved case in 2003, told AP two years ago he didn't know whether any of the trio was still alive. But he had seen enough evidence to make him wonder.

That evidence included credible reports that the Anglins' mother, for several years, received flowers delivered without a card and that the brothers attended her 1973 funeral disguised in women's clothes despite a heavy FBI presence.

For their study, the Dutch scientists simulated scores of boat launches from different points on Alcatraz Island every 30 minutes between 22:00 and 04:00 on the night of the escape. They also factored in the possibility that the inmates paddled.

The model that concluded they could have reached land north of the Golden Gate Bridge also found that any debris they released in the water would have floated toward another island in the bay.

The researchers said they did not set out to study the Alcatraz escape. The project was initially intended to analyse flood risk to large industrial facilities on the bay.

Read more on:    us  |  research

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.