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NYU student recovering from gap plunge

The entrance to NYC dorms at 80 Lafayette

The entrance to NYC dorms at 80 Lafayette St. where student Asher Vongtau was trapped for more than a day between two buildings before he was rescued. (Nov. 4, 2013) Credit: Agaton Strom

An NYU student remained hospitalized in serious condition Monday after becoming trapped Sunday in a ground-floor gap between his dormitory and a parking lot, officials said.

Asher Vongtau, 19, of Pennsylvania, remained in serious condition at Bellevue Hospital Center yesterday with a fractured skull, pelvis and other injuries, according to the FDNY.

Firefighters rescued Vongtau on Sunday from a confined space at 80 Lafayette St., where he was believed to have been trapped for 36 hours.

School officials said they still don't know how Vongtau, who was reported missing by his friends Saturday morning, wound up in the gap. Students who live in the 18-floor dorm said they were baffled when told where Vongtau was found.

Vongtau was not seen after Friday night and his friends had sought to file a missing person report, but the university said it filed one Sunday morning. NYU's public safety officers searched the sophomore's room, his classrooms and emergency rooms and talked to his friends, according to NYU spokesman John Beckman.

Officers discovered Vongtau's personal items scattered throughout the building including his cellphone, officials said.

Eventually the security officers checked the gap between the buildings and found Vongtau, who was conscious, stuck on the ground floor, wedged between the walls of his dorm and the parking garage.

It took firefighters 90 minutes to knock a hole in a wall and pull him out, officials said.

Students said they were baffled as to how anyone could get into the building gap because the windows don't open the whole way. Students are prohibited from the building's roof or balconies.

"They're really strict about it. They say, 'You will be kicked out if you get on a balcony,' " student Morgan Bennyworth said.

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