US College Student Evacuated from North Korean Prison in Coma
An American college student held in North Korea for 17 months is finally on his way home but with a tragic twist as his parents say he has been in a coma for more than a year.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed Tuesday 22-year-old Otto Warmbier was released from prison and would be reunited with his family.
State Department officials refused to comment on Warmbier’s health, citing department guidelines, but said the last time the U.S. had any access to Warmbier, through the Swedish Embassy, was March of last year.
Warmbier's parents described their son’s release as a medical evacuation. Fred and Cindy Warmbier said they were told their son was given a sleeping pill shortly after his trial last March, and he never woke up.
“At the moment, we’re just treating this like he’s been in an accident,” Fred Warmbier told The Washington Post. “We get to see our son Otto tonight,” he told the newspaper
North Korea had sentenced Warmbier, a student at the University of Virginia, to a 15-year prison term for attempting to steal a propaganda poster.
Massive Fire Destroys a London Apartment Tower
Rescuers in London are working to get residents out of a 27-story apartment tower that has been engulfed in a massive fire for several hours. Officials fear some residents are still trapped in the blaze. A number of people, including children, are missing.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has declared it a “major incident.”
London Metropolitan police officials say at least 200 firefighters are battling the fire, as they worked to evacuate residents from the building in West London’s North Kensington area.
Rescue teams are treating people for smoke inhalation and other injuries.
Witnesses told a local TV station they could hear residents screaming for help, while some of those trapped shined their cell phone lights in the hope of being spotted by rescuers.
Those who escaped stood outside the building in their pajamas as police cordoned off the area and called on people to stay off the streets to allow emergency vehicles through.
The fire was first reported just after 1 a.m. London time. Investigators say they do not yet know the cause of the fire.