Heavily armed police have descended on a small US town 40 miles from the scene of the "real-life Shawshank" prison break.
Fugitives Richard Matt (48) and David Sweat (34) were believed to have been spotted near Willsboro, which has a population of 2,000, in northern New York state.
A motorist reported seeing two suspicious-looking men walking on a "very rural" road at night in a rain storm.
Shaun Gillilland, the town supervisor, said: "When the car this person was in approached, they took off into the fields."
Dozens of officers formed a line and made their way through a pasture and woods.
Beau Duffy, spokesman for New York State Police, said: "We are continuing to pursue that lead down in Willsboro, but it would be inaccurate to say they are cornered."
Police believe the pair, both convicted murderers, had help from someone who worked at the maximum security Clinton Correctional Facility.
They were questioning Joyce Mitchell (51) who oversaw them for months as they carried out their prison jobs in the jail's tailoring shop.
Ms Mitchell went to hospital with "severe chest pains" on Saturday, the day the prison break was discovered.
Matt and Sweat escaped before dawn in a conspiracy likened to Hollywood movies such as 'The Shawshank Redemption' and 'Escape from Alcatraz'.
They cut through the walls of their cells with power tools, then crawled to freedom through an underground pipe system.