Authorities are in pursuit of an escaped prisoner who managed to elude Department of Corrections officers in a brazen escape from Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital.
The fugitive, identified as 44-year-old Yenchun Chen, made an audacious getaway that involved rappelling down the side of the Manhattan hospital building using makeshift ropes.
The desperate yet successful act has left law enforcement agencies scrambling to track him down.
Chen, who was initially admitted to the hospital due to a cardiac issue, reportedly took advantage of his time in the facility to plan his escape.
At approximately 4:30 p.m. on August 9, while ostensibly taking a shower, Chen executed his meticulously planned exit.
Correction officers discovered Chen’s absence when they went to check on him after noticing an open bathroom window. It was apparent that Chen had fashioned a rope from towels and linens, which he used to scale down the building’s exterior from the fifth floor to the second floor. There, he landed on an air-conditioning unit and then employed a ladder to reach the street level.
Eyewitnesses recounted seeing a man fitting Chen’s description hailing a cab and heading south on Second Avenue, when he disappeared.
The initial belief that Chen had been apprehended in New Jersey proved to be a case of mistaken identity, as the detained individual turned out not to be the escaped prisoner.
Chen’s evasion has sparked an internal investigation into the circumstances surrounding his escape, raising questions about why he was being held at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital rather than at a dedicated hospital ward within a facility like Bellevue Hospital.
The audacity and intricacy of Chen’s plan left hospital staff and law enforcement officials astounded.
“When I heard a prisoner escaped through a window, I was just kind of shocked when it happened,” one nurse who was on duty at the time told ABC 7 New York.
Chen’s had been arrested and jailed for criminal possession of a controlled substance. Described as approximately 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighing around 250 pounds, Chen is recognizable by tattoos on his left arm and hand.