Wait, Did Alcatraz Escapees Survive After All?

I remember when I found out that the entire Titanic movie wasn't factually correct. That's when I learned to be skeptical of movies (and love). The Clint Eastwood version of Escape from Alcatraz, which took creative liberties on an actual 1962 escape from the island prison, was no different for me — until now. Dutch scientists released a study that shows that the three prisoners who escaped from Alcatraz actually could have survived, but still not entirely how Eastwood did it.

So, the legend goes that on June 11, 1962, Frank Morris and brothers John and Clarence Anglin escaped across 1.5 miles of treacherous Bay water using a raft made of 50 raincoats, homemade paddles, and a musical instrument as a pump. The story was popularized by the 1979 Eastwood movie, who, if you have forgotten, also screams at chairs. Almost nothing seems real when Eastwood is involved, so the idea that someone could escape from an insanely protected fortress using raincoats seems pretty implausible.

After 17 years of investigation, aided by a prisoner left behind who was the supposed mastermind of the whole plan, the FBI concluded that the three men probably drowned. But in a presentation on Tuesday, the Dutch research team led by Rolf Hut showed that it is entirely possible that the prisoners made it to safety. By digging up the tidal records from the night of the escape, the team simulated virtual boats that tested how the current would have taken them, which way they could have paddled, and if they could have made landfall.

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If the prisoners left between 11 p.m. and and midnight and paddled in a very specific northern direction, then they could have plausibly made the trip without being swept out into the Pacific, as pretty much everyone but the same people who say Elvis is alive thought. I'm not sure if we should be celebrating prison breaks, but that is pretty cool. Fedor Baart, a researcher with the team, joked that he was hoping to see three old men standing at the back of the presentation in San Francisco on Tuesday.

So, there you have it. The Alcatraz prisoners that we thought only lived on through Clint Eastwood could have very well made a successful escape. But it still doesn't change the fact that Jack and Rose aren't real and true love doesn't actually exist.

Images: Getty Images