"The reaction time was probably too slow," he told reporters, adding that everything happened very quickly.
Galarneau also acknowledged the jail did not have security protocol in place to prevent a helicopter from swooping in.
"As far as I know, it's a first in Quebec," he told reporters at the scene. "It's exceptional."
A manhunt for the fugitives followed.
Calls to a station
Adding an extra layer of audacity to an already extraordinary caper, a man claiming to be Hudon-Barbeau called a Montreal radio station to say he'd been shot in the calf during the escape -- and to justify his departure.
"I don't want to cause any harm to anybody. I am not a killer. I never did anything bad to an innocent," the man told 98.5 FM.
"I know that (the escape) wasn't the best thing to do, but I didn't want to stay in prison anymore. I am ready to die."
The man then said the escape was Provencal's idea.
"It was not my idea to get away but Danny convinced me it was his friends who arranged it outside," the man said.
Authorities found the chopper back in Mont-Tremblant, where the flight originated.
The pilot was inside but the men had fled.
The pilot was taken to a hospital for a medical assessment and later for questioning.
Police later said they had ruled him out as a suspect.
The men, meanwhile, escaped in a white Cadillac Escalade -- with police on their tail.
A short-lived breakout
Authorities tracked the SUV to the town of Chersey, about 50 minutes north of Saint-Jerome.
The men got out of the vehicle there and began shooting, said Richard, the police spokesman.
Police shot back, he said, but no one was injured.