The New York Post sparked outrage by putting the horrifying picture of Ki Suk Han’s imminent death on its front page on Tuesday.
Han, a 58 year old father from Queens,was pushed into the subway tracks by “a deranged man” on Monday afternoon. One witness said that he was caught between the platform and the train, and dragged. The front page of the Post showed Han trying to lift himself back onto the platform at the 49th Street station as a Q train approached.
On Tuesday, readers asked why the photographer didn’t try to help Han instead. The picture was taken by R. Umar Abbasi, whom the Post described as a “freelance photographer.”
The photographer who captured the notorious image of a man about to be killed by an oncoming subway car defended himself in multiple interviews on Tuesday and Wednesday, saying that he had no chance to help the man out of the subway tracks where he had been pushed.
The paper and Abbasi said that he was running toward the train and “repeatedly firing off his flash to warn the operator.”
Writing in the Post, Abbasi said the image of Han on the tracks was haunting him:
It was one of the most horrible things I have ever seen, to watch that man dying there. When it was over, I didn’t look at the pictures. I didn’t even know at all that I had even captured the images in such detail. I didn’t look at them. I didn’t want to. It was just too emotional a day.I brought the camera memory card back to the office and turned it in. Two detectives came and looked at the photos and I just sat in a chair.
When I finally looked at them late that night, my heart started racing. It was terrible, seeing it happen all over again. I didn’t sleep at all. All I can hear is that man’s head against that train: Boom! Boom! Boom!
I have to say I was surprised at the anger over the pictures, of the people who are saying: Why didn’t he put the camera down and pull him out?
But I can’t let the armchair critics bother me. They were not there. They have no idea how very quickly it happened.