His family says they believe he knew he was home and was at peace.
Video provided by Newsy
The travel company that took University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier to North Korea said Monday that it is wrangling with the 22-year-old’s death and will no longer take Americans to North Korea.
For years, Young Pioneer Tours has happily boasted: “We provide budget travel to destinations your mother would rather you stayed away from.” On Monday, after Warmbier’s family announced he’d died that afternoon at a Cincinnati hospital, the message that the China-based tour company sent via e-mail to USA TODAY wore a darker and more anguished tone.
“Our deepest sympathies are with Otto Warmbier and those who loved him,” the e-mail read. “We had held onto hope that he might recover, and have the life that he should have had, but now those hopes are gone, and we too are reeling with the shock of a young man’s life taken well before his time.”
The e-mail continued: “The devastating loss of Otto Warmbier’s life has led us to reconsider our position on accepting American tourists. There had not been any previous detainment in North Korea that has ended with such tragic finality and we have been struggling to process the result. Now, the assessment of risk for Americans visiting North Korea has become too high.”
The e-mail from Young Pioneer Tours finished with: “The way his detention was handled was appalling, and a tragedy like this must never be repeated. Despite constant requests, we were denied any opportunity to meet him or anyone in contact with him in Pyongyang, only receiving assurances that he was fine. There has still been almost no information disclosed about his period in detention. Considering these facts and this tragic outcome we will no longer be…