Otto Warmbier is returning home to Cincinnati in a coma after being imprisoned in North Korea for more than a year.
Corrections and Clarifications: An earlier version of this story misstated the time zone in Cincinnati. Cincinnati observes Eastern Daylight Time.
WASHINGTON — An American college student imprisoned by North Korea and in a coma for more than a year was freed Tuesday and arrived later that night in his home state of Ohio.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced that North Korea released Otto Warmbier, 22, a University of Virginia student, who was serving a 15-year sentence for alleged anti-state acts. His parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier, said their son has been in a coma since March 2016. “We learned of this only one week ago,” they said in a statement.
A plane carrying Warmbier arrived around 10:20 p.m. ET Tuesday at Cincinnati’s Lunken Airport. Two ambulances met the plane on the runway to transfer Otto to the hospital.
Officials worked quietly as reporters and photographers watched from behind a fence. At 10:42 p.m., the ambulances drove away.
During his 18-month incarceration, the Warmbiers heard from Otto only once, through a letter on March 2, 2016.
It was apparently shortly after that date that Otto fell ill. Some media reports said the North Koreans suggested Otto had come down with a case of botulism and fell into a coma after being given a sleeping pill. Former United Nations Ambassador Bill…
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