15 awaiting-trial prisoners on the run in Durban after escaping in transit

A broken padlock allowed 15 awaiting-trial prisoners to escape from a police vehicle.
A broken padlock allowed 15 awaiting-trial prisoners to escape from a police vehicle.
Image: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

A manhunt is under way for 15 awaiting-trial prisoners who escaped while being transported to prison from court in Durban on Monday afternoon.

Police spokesperson Col Thembeka Mbhele said the incident took place at around 2pm.

The prisoners were being transported back to Westville prison after appearing in the Durban Magistrate's Court for various offences, she said.

Police were "transporting 54 prisoners to prison after they appeared in court. [The driver] was approaching red robots and was about to stop when he noticed prisoners coming out of the [vehicle]."

When the driver go out of the vehicle, he noticed that the padlock had been broken, said Mbhele.

Fifteen prisoners escaped and are still on the run. A police task team is investigating the incident.

Of the 15 escapees, 11 are illegal immigrants. The others are facing various charges, including common robbery.

"The police have opened a case of escaping from lawful custody and aiding and abetting a prisoner to escape."