Escape from Alcatraz?
In nearly 750 FogBay posts I've barely mentioned Alcatraz. I hope to be able to present a mini-series on it in the future but have not had the opportunity to take the tour of the island with my camera recently. One subject that always comes up when discussing Alcatraz is the possibility that anyone ever escaped from 'The Rock.' Officially no one ever escaped but over the 29 years that the federal prison operated, 36 men were involved in 14 separate escape attempts. The first attempt was in 1936 when inmate Joe Bowers scaled a fence, was shot, and fell 100 feet to the beach where he died. The last attempt was in 1962 when two men squeezed through the bars of a kitchen window, one was discovered on small outcropping of rock a short distance from the island, the second inmate attempted to swim to San Francisco but was caught in the strong 50° current. He was pulled from the water near the Golden Gate Bridge suffering from shock and hypothermia.

The most likely men to have escaped were made famous in Clint Eastwood's Escape from Alcatraz. In 1962 three inmates built crude mannequins to fool the guards and used prison-issued raincoats to create make-shift life vests and a pontoon-type raft to assist in their escape. While the men were never found, five weeks after the escape attempt the Norweigian freighter, SS Norefjell discovered a badly-decomposed body wearing clothes similar to prison fatigues floating twenty miles northwest of the Golden Gate. The FBI spent several years investigating, and later concluded that the inmates' plan had failed and all the escapees had died. But we'll probably never know for sure what happened to the escapees.
[ MAP B-13 ]