Five prisoners who escaped from the Men’s House of Detention on Riker’s Island Thursday were recaptured Thursday after a tip from a sixth escapee who never left the island. However, one of two prison hospital inmates in another escape Thursday was still missing. There was the possibility that the fugitive, 19-year-old Edwin Velasquez, who had an injured leg tried to swim through the East River. The other hospital inmate, David Romaine returned to the island when his water wings deflated.
The six inmates escaped Thursday night thinking the city was still blacked out. They made their way to the roof of their cellblock and lowered themselves to the ground sixty feet below with bedsheets and clothing. Then they plunged into the East River. Ralph Angel Navaez was apprehended at the scene. He told the police he thought the men would stop at North and South Brother islands in their swim to the Bronx. The police later found the five there.
excerpt from NYT 7/16/77