Four convicts escaped from the Bon Futuro prison on the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao, officials said Tuesday.

The four prisoners, ranging in ages from 20 to 24, were serving terms for attempted murder and armed robbery. They apparently escaped Tuesday when two guards were briefly taken hostage by three other prisoners.

The guards were not injured during the melee, according to police spokesman Reginald Huggins, who said the brief hostage-taking was most likely a diversion to help the other men flee the prison's high-security Block 7, he said.

Residents in the low-income Koraal Specht neighborhood where the prison is located were urged to watch for the men, who are considered dangerous.