The escape of convicted murderers Richard Matt and David Sweat from a maximum security jail in New York has been described as a “crisis situation” by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 34, used power tools to break out of Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora near the Canadian border.
Andrew Cuomo said: “These are dangerous men capable of committing grave crimes again.”
New York State is offering a $100,000 reward for any information leading to Richard Matt and David Sweat arrest.
The governor said the prison breakout was the first escape from the facility in 150 years.
The New York Post reported that Richard Matt and David Sweat cut through the steel back walls of their cell before clambering along a catwalk to reach a series of pipes and tunnels, which they again cut their way through.
Richard Matt and David Sweat then climbed up through a manhole into a nearby street, “disappearing into the darkness some 20 miles south of Canada”.
They placed bundles of clothing in their beds to fool guards into believing they were asleep, before making their escape during Friday night. Their absence from adjoining cells was not discovered until the following morning.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said someone must have heard at least some of the noise.
After the prisoners were apprehended, the authorities would conduct a full review of the escape, he added.
“We’ll go through the exact details of what they did and how they did it to ensure this never happens again.”
Richard Matt was given a jail term of 25 years to life for the kidnapping and beating a man to death in 1997.
David Sweat was serving a life sentence without parole for the murder of Broome County Sheriff’s Deputy, Kevin Tarsia.
Police are trying to determine how the men acquired the tools needed to carry out the escape.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo posted pictures of pipes and walls with chunks cut out after he was shown the inmates’ escape route.
More than 200 officers are searching for Richard Matt and David Sweat, using sniffer dogs and aerial surveillance.
They may have crossed the border into Canada or headed to another state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. There is also concern they may have had assistance from someone outside the prison.
Roadblocks have been set up in the area to catch Richard Matt and David Sweat, who both have distinctive tattoos, according to local media.