CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) _ A federal prisoner awaiting trial for a prison escape he attempted in 1984 was shot while trying to break out again, authorities said.

David Allan Smith was in critical condition with a chest wound at Southeast Missouri Regional Medical Center after the shooting Tuesday night, police said.

A jailer who was taken hostage during the jailbreak bid at City Jail was not harmed.

The jailer, who was not identified, was making a routine check of a second- floor cell block shortly before 11 p.m. when he moved a refuse bag and noticed that a hole had been chipped out of the concrete wall in Smith's cell, said Sgt. Carl Kinnison.

The jailer also discovered two bars to the cell had been sawed through and removed, Kinnison said. At that point, Smith produced a small handgun and crawled from his cell to take the jailer hostage.

A portable silent alarm was sounded by the jailer, and a police dispatcher alerted police, Kinnison said. As Smith and his hostage approached the jail's rear exit, five officers intercepted them and Smith was shot when he failed to drop his .25-caliber handgun, Kinnison said.

Smith, 28, was serving a prison sentence at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Memphis, Tenn., for bank robbery when two women hijacked a helicopter at Kennett, Mo., and attempted to help him escape, said Dean Hoag, an assisant U.S. attorney in St. Louis.

The escape failed when the helicopter crashed near Frenchman's Bayou, Ark., en route to Memphis. Rosemary Bethot and Janice LaGore, who were arrested, pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy in the aborted escape try and have agreed to testify for the government at Smith's June 1 trial, Hoag said.