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Water Management

The Alcatraz Escapees Could Have Survived

Did the escapees make it across the Bay, get to Angel Island, and then cross Raccoon Straight into Marin County as planned? Or did the wind and waves get the better of them? A team of Dutch researchers reconstructed that night with 3Di and found out that the men could have survived. But only if they left Alcatraz at the right time…

Alcatraz Simulation – Carto

When Dutch scientists were developing a model of the San Francisco Bay to study the impact of sea-level rise, they realised that this model could also shed light on one of the USA’s most intriguing stories. They have now completed their simulation work and conclude that an escape was indeed possible. In hindsight, the best time to launch a boat from Alcatraz was 23.30, one and a half hours later than has generally been assumed. A rubber boat leaving Alcatraz at 23.30 would have been most likely to land just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. The model also shows that debris in that scenario would be likely to wash up at Angel Island, exactly where one of the paddles and some personal belongings were found.

Alcatraz Simulation – YouTube

The model of the Alcatraz Escape has been presented at the AGU Fall Meeting on Tuesday, 16 December 2014 by Fedor Baart (Deltares), Olivier Hoes (Nelen & Schuurmans and TU Delf), Rolf Hut (TU Delft) and Gennadii Donchyts (Deltares). The AGU is the world’s largest conference in the field of earth sciences. It is attended by more than 27,000 scientists, policymakers, teachers and students, who meet to share pioneering research.

The Alcatraz Escape Study in the media: Fox NewsWashington Post, Independent, The Times,, NOS, BNR Nieuwsradio, De Volkskrant, Reformatorisch Dagblad, BBC,, Mirror.

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Mees Rijs

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