Nightmare NYU Accident Leads to Rescue

This is the kind of college weekend you really don't want to write home about: NYPD officers rescued a 19-year-old New York University student Sunday evening who had been trapped in a "coffin-sized space" between a 17-story NYU dorm at 80 Lafayette Street and a parking garage. Police had to scale a 50-foot wall to liberate the student, Asher Vongtau, who's thought to have been trapped there for up to two days. Vongtau, unconscious and in serious condition at the time of rescue, has since been hospitalized at Bellevue.

Vongtau's rescue from the six- to 18-inch space took around an hour and a half, and police still aren't entirely sure how Vongtau got stuck. Although the student was able to talk to rescuers while they worked to free him, he doesn't remember what led to his fall.

"He really can't remember up until when he fell in there, exactly what happened, maybe as he comes to," Vongtau's mother Habiba Vongtau said. "[He has] broken bones, arm, and contusions, and cracked, I think fractured pelvis."

Alarm was raised about his disappearance after he went missing after a fire drill. "We went door-to-door asking people what they knew about him and one person told us that the last that they'd seen, he was headed up the stairs," Vongtau's friend Michael Yablon said.

When friends went to file a missing persons report with authorities, they were told to check the roof. There, a search group of security guards found Vongtau's cell phone.

Vongtau is now in "fair condition" at Bellevue Hospital.

Image: rmbarricarte/Fotolia