The inmates left a note with a smiley face, reading 'Have a nice day', on one of the tunnels they cut through during the escape

The inmates left a note with a smiley face, reading ?Have a nice day?, on one of the tunnels they cut through during the escape

?They needed the assistance of someone?, Governor Andrew Cuomo told US television networks on Monday morning.

Hundreds of employees and construction contractors are now being investigated to determine if they provided the power tools used to escape.

?I don?t believe they could have acquired the equipment they needed to do this without help,? said Mr Cuomo.

Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 34, used power tools to break out of Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora on Friday night.

The two men cut through the steel back walls of their cell before clambering along a catwalk to reach a series of pipes and tunnels, which they again cut their way through.

The pair then climbed up through a manhole into a nearby street, ?disappearing into the darkness some 20 miles (30km) south of Canada?, said Mr Cuomo.

The New York Post reported on Monday that a female employee has been questioned and removed from her post.

A source tells the newspaper that Matt ?has a way with the ladies? and that this may have played a role in enlisting a female accomplice.

All of the tools belonging to the prison have been accounted for ?so far,? acting state Corrections Commissioner Anthony Annucci told the newspaper, leading investigators to believe the tools may have come from outside the prison.

The breakout is the first escape from the prison, nicknamed ?Little Siberia?, in 150 years.

Governor Cuomo said the age of the prison meant that outside builders frequently enter the prison for renovation work, and that it?s possible the tools used were provided by one of them.

New York state is offering a $100,000 (?65,000) reward for information.

Matt was given a jail term of 25 years to life for beating a man to death in 1997.

Sweat was serving a life sentence without parole for the murder of Broome County Sheriff?s Deputy, Kevin Tarsia.

Mr Tarsia?s brother Steven said finding out that his killer had escaped ?turns your world upside-down all over again?.

Mr Cuomo toured the prison on Saturday and posted pictures of pipes and walls with chunks cut out after he was shown the inmates? escape route.

More than 250 officers are searching for the prisoners, using sniffer dogs and aerial surveillance.

They may have crossed the border into Canada or headed to another state, Mr Cuomo said.

There is ?nothing to be afraid of? in Canada, Roland-Luc Beliveau, the mayor of Lacolle in Quebec told CTV on Monday.

?We?re well-protected?, he said.

BBC

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