'Lucky to be alive': Eyewitnesses say they saw 2 escaped prisoners as they made their getaway in New York


New York prison break
Two eyewitnesses are claiming to have seen the two convicts who escaped from a maximum-security prison in New York over the weekend.


A man and his friend told ABC News that they saw 48-year-old Richard Matt and 34-year-old David Sweat in their backyard with what looked like a guitar case. The witnesses' identities are being withheld because of safety concerns.

Sources told the New York Daily News that the convicts were carrying the tools they used to break out the prison in a guitar case one of the inmates had in his cell.

The witnesses spotted the men at about 12:30 a.m. near the manhole they reportedly escaped from after breaking out of the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora about 20 miles from the Canadian border.

When the witnesses confronted the men, one of them reportedly said, "We're just lost. We don't know where we are. We're on the wrong street." They then both took off running, according to the witnesses.


The man added to ABC that he was "lucky to be alive."

Police are now searching for the escaped convicts, who reportedly used power tools to cut through a steel wall in their adjoining cells and escape through a steam pipe.

New York officials suspect the inmates might have had inside help in obtaining the power tools and breaking out, and the police are now questioning a woman who worked at the prison and might have been an accomplice.

Clinton Correctional Facility

Investigators are trying to figure out "what the rest of the plan was," Rick Mathews, the director of the University at Albany's National Center for Security and Preparedness, told the Associated Press.


"Where were they going to go, and how were they going to do it?"

The search for the two men has been extended to Canada and Mexico as well as New York. Matt was serving a sentence of 25 years to life for killing and dismembering his former boss in 1997. Sweat was serving a life sentence for killing a sheriff's deputy.

prison break