The New York University student who had to be rescued by firefighters from a crawl space less than two feet wide Sunday evening reportedly told police that he fell into the narrow crevice after a night of drinking.
The New York Post reported that 19-year-old Asher Vongtau was on his way down to a small interior courtyard at the Lafayette Hall residence in Lower Manhattan early Sunday morning to get some fresh air. The paper said Vongtau then climbed the fire escape of the building next door before slipping and falling, landing in a gap between the structures.
"He's probably the luckiest kid alive," a fire department source told the Post Monday.
Vongtau was pulled from the space Sunday evening after firefighters broke through the cinder-block wall of the parking garage next to the dorm. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital and listed in stable condition with injuries his family described as a broken pelvis and shattered arm, as well as bruises.
Also Monday, a friend of Vongtau criticized NYU's public safety department for allegedly telling him it couldn't immediately access security cameras to track the student's movements during the weekend and would not immediately notify the New York Police Department of the missing man.
If he and his friends hadn't pushed to find Vongtau, "He'd be dead right now," Michael Yabon told the Post.
NYU spokesman John Beckman disputed Yabon's account, telling the Post in an e-mail that NYU public safety officers immediately began searching for Vongtau once the missing person report was received early Sunday. Beckman also noted that it was an NYU public safety officer who located Vongtau after hearing moans coming from the crawl space.