NYU denies delay in rescuing student wedged between buildings

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NYU (PIX11)-  19-year-old Asher Vongtau resting at Bellevue Hospital in stable condition after scary 48 hours.  Vontgtau was wedged between two buildings and finally rescued by the FDNY, Sunday after he was stuck in a two-foot gap between an NYU dorm and a parking garage on 80 Lafayette Street.

His friends say they alerted NYU security Saturday that he might be missing but weren’t taken seriously.

On Sunday afternoon, an NYU Department of Public Safety finally found Asher Vongtau wedged between the two buildings. The public safety officer then notified the NYPD and the FDNY. The rescue took an hour and a half and they had to break down a cinder block wall to get to him. Vongtau was conscious and was speaking with his rescuers.

His best friend Michael Yablon tells PIX11 News, if he didn’t reach out to Vongtau’s sister on Facebook, and get her involved, authorities may not have looked for him.

Here’s NYU’s complete statement.

NYU’s Dept of Public Safety first received word of a missing student –a male undergraduate — in the very early hours of Sunday morning from students and immediately began a search, checking the student’s room, reaching out to friends, checking area emergency rooms, checking local precincts, and checking on the NYU locations where his ID had most recently been used for entry.  Later on Sunday, possessions of his were found at our residence hall at 80 Lafayette St., and the Public Safety Dept’s efforts were focused there.

One of our Public Safety sergeants in the course of his search of the building extended his search to a narrow space between our building and an abutting garage, where he discovered someone wedged into the space and heard moaning.  The FDNY and the NYPD were immediately called; they responded and rescued the student.  Our understanding is that the student was conscious and able to communicate with rescuers throughout the rescue.  The student was transported to the hospital.

The circumstances of how the student came to be in this space are unclear to us.  We are glad that student was found and rescued, pleased that his condition was such that he was able to remain conscious and alert during the rescue, grateful to the FDNY and NYPD for their quick response and excellent work, and proud of our Public Safety officer for looking in what would have been an unlikely spot for a student to be.

NYU Vice President for Public Affairs John Beckman