Surfboard Prison Break
Norwegian man escapes from island prison using an old surfboard and shovel. Source: Epicplaygrounds.com

A Norwegian prison official announced Wednesday that a 23-year-old inmate climbed out an open window and used an old surfboard and toy shovel to paddle 1.8 miles to the Norwegian mainland.

The prison is located on small Bastøy Island approximately 47 miles south of Oslo and is only accessible by ferry. The surfboard, which was stored in an old shelter by the ocean, was found abandoned on the shore in the town of Horten adjacent from the prison. Prison officials told reporters that they hoped the inmate would call to let them know that he survived the ocean transit.

Surfboard Prison Break
Bastøy Island prison is known for its lax security and beautiful views.  Source: Oslomarket.com

Prison manager Tom Eberhardt told reporters that they realized the man had escaped when guards found an open window. The prison is known worldwide for its unique approach to incarceration. The inmates’ rooms are not locked and the windows are without bars.

The surfboard prison break was not a big surprise to officials. Eberhardt told the newspaper the Local, “It is not very difficult to get away from Bastøy, and it happens fortunately very rarely, but we are concerned about security, partly because we are on an island and want to prevent people getting killed as they attempt to escape.”

Surfboard Prison Break
Bastøy Island was selected as a prison in the 1900s because of the natural barrier created by the cold Norwegian waters. Source: atlasobscura.com
Surfboard Prison Break
Bastøy prison as seen from the air; the prison was originally an abusive boy’s reform school until 1970.  Source: Thelocal.no

The island has been a prison for over 115 years. Originally a brutal institution for trouble youth, the island was the scene of a violent riot that led to the burning of a barn and Norwegian military intervention in 1915. In 1970 the boy’s home was closed and the island became a minimum security eco-prison. The inmates on the island live in small comfortable cabins and are treated as part of a community while working to maintain the island’s natural habitat.

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