Mom of Trapped NYU Student Said He Had Thoughts of Movie "127 Hours," Vowed Not to Give Up

Wednesday, Nov 6, 2013  |  Updated 9:19 AM EDT
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A 19-year-old New York University student who went missing over the weekend was found trapped in a narrow gap between a dorm and a neighboring parking garage in lower Manhattan, where rescuers had to break through a wall Sunday night to free him. Gus Rosendale has the story.

NBC 4 New York

A 19-year-old New York University student who went missing over the weekend was found trapped in a narrow gap between a dorm and a neighboring parking garage in lower Manhattan, where rescuers had to break through a wall Sunday night to free him. Gus Rosendale has the story.

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Teen Trapped Between Buildings for Hours

A 19-year-old NYU student was rescued Sunday night after getting stuck in a narrow space between a dorm and a neighboring parking garage in lower Manhattan. Brynn Gingras reports.
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The mother of a 19-year-old NYU student trapped for hours in a narrow gap between two buildings says he called for help as he went in and out of consciousness.

Habiba Vongtau told the Daily News her son Asher also had thoughts of "127 Hours," the movie about a mountaineer who cuts off his arm after getting stuck behind a boulder in Utah.

But she says Asher told himself not to give up.

He tumbled down the 24-inch shaft Saturday morning. NYU spokesman John Beckman said in a statement Monday that the school had been searching for Vongtau since students reported him missing early Sunday.

The search had included looking for him in local emergency rooms and tracking where his NYU ID had last been used. 

He was rescued after a police officer heard his moans. Firefighters worked for 90 minutes to free Vongtau from the space between the 17-story NYU dorm at 80 Lafayette St. and the neighboring 5-story building, officials said. They broke through two cinderblock walls to reach him.

Habiba Vongtau says her son wants to meet his rescuers, whom he likened to Navy SEALs.

She says he suffered a cracked pelvis, a minor skull fracture and perforated lung.

It's not clear how Vongtau fell into the gap, officials said, though it was possible he fell out of a window or from the roof of one of the buildings. 

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