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38 IRA Members

Perimeter fence of the Maze Prison, Northern Ireland.

© David Reed/CORBIS

A September 1983 prison break by members of the Irish Republican Army resulted in the largest manhunt in Northern Ireland's history, involving nearly 10,000 soldiers and police officers.

Northern Ireland's Maze Prison was the country's maximum security facility and thought to be inescapable -- until the day prisoners held guards hostage with smuggled guns, traded prison jumpsuits for the guards' uniforms and staged a coup in the main gatehouse. In the ensuing chaos, 38 prisoners scaled an outer fence and escaped, leaving behind 19 injured and one dead.

Although 19 escapees were captured within a few days, a manhunt for the remainder went on for another decade. Several escaped prisoners were eventually killed or captured, and half-a-dozen were discovered in Ireland and the U.S. As of 2013, however, two escapees remain at large [source: Crime Library].

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