NYU student recovering after miracle escape from coffin-like shaft

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A 19-year-old New York University student was recovering on Monday after he was freed from a coffin-sized space between two buildings in Manhattan.

Asher Vongtau, 19, was freed about 5 p.m. Sunday by the New York Fire Department from the space, described in reports as a two-foot shaft between a university dorm building and a garage in downtown Manhattan. The student had been missing since Saturday morning.

Vongtau was taken to Bellevue Hospital where he was listed in stable condition on Monday.
It is not known how the university sophomore got stuck in the space, between the 17-story dorm at 80 Lafayette St. and the garage.


Vongtau was stuck near the ground floor, officials told reporters.

Rescuers broke through a cinder block wall to free the student.

Vongtau was conscious and able to speak when firefighters reached him.

His relatives told reporters that they had been frantic.

“My son is the most responsible kid in the world,” Vongtau’s distraught mother, Habiba Vongtau, told the New York Daily News on Sunday night as she traveled by Greyhound from her Pittsburgh home.

“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,” she told the newspaper.


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