Argentina prisoners escape past guard named Wilson (as in Cast Away)

Two men convicted of armed robbery slipped out of a prison in Neuquen province, Argentina. With only enough staff to man two of 15 guard towers, the prison workers disguised a soccer ball as a guard. It didn't work.

By , Staff writer

Tom Hanks might be pleased to know that “Wilson” – his volleyball companion in the film "Cast Away" – is still on the job.

In Argentina.

Really.

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The prisoners from the Neuquen Province of Argentina are not easily fooled – or at least the two who escaped Saturday aren't. They slipped out after understaffed prison workers placed a dummy in the guard tower in lieu of an actual guard.

Speaking to the local Rio Negro newspaper, a prison staff member explained they had no other choice: They only have enough resources to man two of the 15 guard towers at any given time.

It is little surprise the inmates caught on. Apparently one of the tower guards was named "Wilson." And he's no more than a soccer ball wearing an officer´s cap.

"We named him Wilson, like in the film 'Cast Away,' and put him in one of the towers," the anonymous prison staffer told the Rio Negro newspaper, referencing the 2000 movie starring Tom Hanks, who makes an imaginary friend of a volleyball to keep him company.

The escaped inmates, Walter Pozo and Cesar Andres, were serving armed robbery sentences and are still on the run. They reportedly jumped over the wired fence and climbed the wall.

Wilson, apparently, quietly watched as they made their escape.

The anonymous prison source says his motive is clear in discussing Wilson's work habits: to point out the lack of resources in the prison system. In addition to an obvious lack of manpower, there is a lack of technological power too. He claims the jail´s 40 video cameras have been down for months.

Elsewhere in Latin America, prison conditions have been an ongoing issue.

A group of moms recently gathered on the streets of Caracas to demand better conditions for their sons in Venezuela´s overcrowded prisons. In Mexico, where escapes are no rare event, narcotraffickers disguised as police officers used a helicopter and let dozens of prisoners go free.

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