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Manhunt for escaped prisoners

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A manhunt is underway for two prisoners who have escaped in unrelated incidents across Australia.

Northern Territory Police said a convicted robber left a prison bus he had been driving and went on the run in Darwin, while, a prisoner had fled from a low-security Goulburn Correctional Centre in NSW.

NT officers are searching for 49-year-old Gavin Rankin, who had been in prison in Darwin for aggravated robbery and was last seen on Tuesday about 5pm (ACST).

Duty Superintendent Louise Jorgensen said on Wednesday that police were made aware of the disappearance about 7pm.

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“He is a sentenced prisoner, so we don’t know what he could do or where he could be,” Supt Jorgensen said.

Aggravated robbery is a charge normally levelled at someone who was armed with a deadly weapon, had an accomplice, or actually inflicted serious harm during the crime, but details of Rankin’s crime were not immediately available.

Escaped prisoner Gavin Rankin.
Escaped prisoner Gavin Rankin. Photo: NT Police

Rankin was wearing the yellow shirt given to low-security prisoners when he disappeared from his job driving a prison bus.

He abandoned the bus near Fisherman’s Wharf, close to Darwin’s CBD.

Ms Jorgensen said Rankin had a tattoo of an eagle with a skull and crossbones on his upper left arm, and the word “love” and a grub-type creature on his left hand.

“He is described as 165cm, solid build, brown hair, wearing a yellow shirt and blue shorts, possibly tennis shoes,” Ms Jorgensen said.

Meanwhile, NSW Police Force officers are searching for a minimum security prisoner who had escaped from Goulburn Correctional Centre in the Southern Tablelands.

The Northern Territory incident is the latest in a string of escapes from Darwin’s prisons in recent times.

In February, 27-year-old Dale Atkinson, who was working as a concreter, failed to return to the prison after taking part in an employment scheme.

He was eventually recaptured, after threatening officers with a machete.

Last year the ABC revealed that at least four prisoners had escaped from Berrimah jail, before getting drunk and breaking back in to the facility.

Five teenagers went on the run in August this year after escaping from Darwin’s youth detention centre.

Three were found quickly but two others sensationally smashed their way back in to the facility driving a car, before doing burnouts inside the facility.


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