An NYU student reported missing over the weekend has been found. 19-year-old Asher Vongtau was found trapped in a crawl space between two buildings on Sunday evening. After emergency responders rescued him, the student was taken to the hospital where he remains in serious, but stable condition.
Vongtau’s friends say he went missing late Friday night after a fire alarm went off in his dorm building. Instead of running out with everyone else, Vongtau’s friend says he was spotted running towards up the stairs. “I just know I saw him frantically running back up the stairs while people were exiting the building to leave because the fire alarm had been pulled,” said Colin Chenel.
It wasn’t much later that the young man’s friends realized he never showed back up. After Vongtau didn’t respond to texts or phone calls, they reported him missing about 18 hours later. “We went door-to-door asking people what they knew about him, and one person told us they had seen him heading upstairs, so we went to security and said, ‘Hey guys, you need to go on the roof and search the roof,’” said classmate Michael Yablon.
The student’s friends claim that campus security did nothing to help until Sunday afternoon. “Had we not told the security guards, the three of us 19 year old students, to check the roof, they would not have found him for who knows how long and he would probably be dead right now,” Yablon told WCBS.
After police and other officials began looking for Vongtau, the search eventually made it to the roof, where someone heard Vongtau moaning. The fire department was called in and they determined that Vongtau fell in a space between the dorm building and a parking garage. Vongtau was reportedly wedged in an 18-inch crevice:
The emergency responders had to cut through a concrete wall (image below) to get him out. “Our squad company was on the roof of the parking garage and were able to lower breathing apparatus down to him to keep the victim on air while we tried to extricate him,” Fire Chief Joseph Schiralli said.
Vongtau was taken to the hospital after being rescued and treated for broken bones and other injuries. According to the teen’s mother, Habiba Vongtau, he has “broken bones, arm, and contusions, and cracked, I think fractured pelvis.” Despite the injuries, his mother says he is in “stable condition.”
The NYU student’s father also posted an updated on Twitter:
Spoke to Asher, he's in good spirits.his mother and I are grateful to God for this gift! Thnx for ur prayers! It is well'
— Lulufa Vongtau (@Cookiemonster9j) November 4, 2013
[Images via YouTube]