CINCINNATI — A plane carrying University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier, who had been detained in North Korea for 17 months and was in a coma for most of it, touched down in Cincinnati on Tuesday night.
The 22-year-old’s return marks an end to the ordeal that his family has been through, not knowing what had happened to Warmbier since he was sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labor in March of last year. But the fact that he had been kept, comatose, in North Korea for more than a year could worsen the already tense relationship between Pyongyang and Washington.
Friends and well-wishers gathered outside Cincinnati’s Lunken Airport Terminal ahead of the plane’s arrival at 10:20 p.m. local time, and they cheered when the plane landed.
Otto’s parents, Fred and Cindy, boarded the plane and came out again a few minutes later. Then medical personnel carried Otto Warmbier, who had a shaved head and a tube in his nose, off the plane and onto a stretcher. He was then placed in an ambulance and taken to University of Cincinnati Medical Center.