David Sweat, one of the two killers who escaped from a maximum-security state prison, may have had an important advantage in living in the North Country while on the run.

Sweat actually may have benefited from tips he learned from a prison wilderness survival course. Those lessons may have given him an advantage over fellow escapee Richard Matt, who was shot and killed last Friday.

Broome County Sheriff David Harder raised that intriguing possibility during a live radio interview Monday morning.

Speaking on WNBF Radio's Binghamton Now program, Harder said he'd been advised that when Sweat "was in prison before, (he) actually took a course on survival in the wilderness."

Harder said he believed Sweat "was more prepared for the wilderness than Matt." The sheriff noted Matt "had all kinds of problems" in coping with the tough conditions of the heavily wooded area around the prison. Matt is said to have left behind bloody socks and had become ill, likely from drinking bad water.

Harder said the men at some point split up, probably because of Matt's condition. He said "Sweat knew enough to move on without him."

Sweat was taken into custody near the Canadian border Sunday afternoon after a state police sergeant shot him twice in the torso. Sweat was reported in serious condition Monday afternoon at Albany Medical Center.

LISTEN to the Binghamton Now interview with Broome County Sheriff David Harder.

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