Stuck Between Buildings, Missing NYU Student Found After 36 Hours

Tuesday, 05 Nov 2013 08:03 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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A 19-year-old New York University student's health has been improving since emergency personnel rescued him late Sunday from between two buildings, where he was stuck for 36 hours.

Asher Vongtau was recovering at Bellevue Hospital Center with a fractured skull, broken arm and collapsed lung, the New York Times reported. He was found between his school dormitory and a parking garage in TriBeCa where authorities believe he fell. 

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Vongtau had been missing for more than a day when a security guard searching for the student found him in the space that was less than two feet wide.

Firefighters broke through a cinder-block wall in the garage to give him fluids and oxygen while freeing him. It took workers 90 minutes to free Vongtau and he was initially listed in serious condition at the hospital.

The New York Daily News reported Vongtau, a sophomore, likely tumbled into the shaft from the roof of his 17-story dorm after someone pulled the fire alarm in the building early Saturday, sending students scrambling Saturday morning. 

"My son is the most responsible kid in the world," Vongtau's mother, Habiba Vongtau, told the New York Daily News. "So many thoughts went through my head: Did he get hit by a car? Did he get attacked? Was he lying somewhere hurt? It was just crazy."

Habiba Vongtau traveled to the city from Pittsburgh on a Greyhound bus after learning that her son was missing.

Friend and fellow NYU student Michael Yablon, 19, told the Daily News he lost contact with Vongtau when students returned to their rooms after the fire alarm incident.

"I was one of the last ones to see him," Yablon said. "He left my room at 7 a.m. Saturday. I texted him later that day, but he never responded."

Yablon said when he had not responded by Sunday morning, he contacted campus security and his classmate went door-to-door as well. Campus security found his cell phone on the roof and contacted police, who eventually found Vongtau calling for help.

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