Wellington Police are searching the central city for a man believed to be armed with a pistol following a short-lived bid for freedom this afternoon of Rimutaka Prison inmate Arthur William Taylor.
Detective Inspector Gary Knowles, Wellington CIB, says Taylor, 48, currently on remand for serious firearms and drugs offences, was being escorted by three Department of Corrections officers to a planned meeting in a Manners Mall office when the escape took place shortly after 2pm.
"An unknown accomplice confronted the Corrections officers and Taylor as they got out of a prison vehicle in a carpark at the back of the building," Detective Inspector Knowles says.
"The offender pulled a firearm, which we believe was a pistol, from a carrypack and threatened the three officers. Taylor was released from his restraints and the two men fled into the Manners Mall area."
Taylor was recaptured in a nearby carpark a short time later after falling through the roof of a building. He is not injured, and is now in police custody.
Police are however still looking for the man who helped in the escape. He is described as a male caucasian, in his 30s, and was wearing a beanie, glasses and green fluro jacket at the time of the escape.
"We're not sure of this man's identity but he's possibly still armed so are advising people to be cautious if they see him," Detective Inspector Knowles says.
"Any sightings should be reported immediately to police."
He says police are still talking with the Corrections officers who are shaken but unhurt.
Police are also appealing for people who witnessed the escape to call Wellington CIB on 381 2000.