(Corrects spelling of victim's name in third paragraph)
By Chris Francescani
NEW YORK Dec 5 The tabloid news photographer
whose pictures of a man thrown into the path of a New York City
subway train unleashed a maelstrom of criticism said on
Wednesday that he was too far from the victim to offer help.
R. Umar Abbasi, a freelance photographer for the New York
Post, said he rapidly shot dozens of frames using his flash in a
vain effort to alert the train driver to the presence of the
stunned victim on the tracks on Monday afternoon.
Seconds later the train struck and killed Ki- Su c k Han, 58,
as he tried to pull himself back up to the platform at the 49th
Street station, an incident that has struck a nerve in a city
where getting jostled by strangers on crowded subway platforms
is a daily occurrence. Han lived in the New York City borough of
"My condolences to the family, and if I could have, I would
have pulled Mr. Han out," Abbasi said on NBC's "Today" show.
The Post, no stranger to controversy over headlines and
stories, sparked greater outrage than usual on Tuesday when it
featured one of Abbasi's photographs on its front page.
It showed Han trying to pull himself from the tracks and
looking into the lights of the oncoming train with the headlines
"DOOMED" and "Pushed on the subway track, this man is about to
Police were investigating a suspect brought in for
questioning on Tuesday who "implicated himself in the incident,"
according to New York City Police Department spokesman Paul
Browne. Police have not identified the suspect, but the Post
identified him as Naeem Davis, a 30-year-old street vendor also
In a first-person account the Post published on Wednesday,
Abbasi said the incident "was one of the most horrible things I
have ever seen, to watch that man dying there.
"I didn't even know at all that I had even captured the
images in such detail."
Abbasi also took a New York Times reporter back to the scene
to re-enact his movements after Han was thrown to the tracks
after what appeared to be an argument with another passenger.
Abbasi told The Times that he held his camera outstretched
in front of the train, snapping his flash 49 times in a vain
attempt to get the train conductor to slow down.
The conductor has been hospitalized for trauma after the
incident, the Post and New York Daily News reported.
"People think I had time to set the camera and take photos,
and that isn't the case," Abbasi wrote in the Post story.
"The sad part is, there were people who were close to the
victim, who watched and didn't do anything," he said. "You can
see it in the pictures."
Still, criticism of Abassi and The Post was rife in social
" isappointed & disgusted by #NYPost decision to print
photo of mans last moment alive, b4 being squished by train,"
read a tweet from a California Twitter account.
(Reporting By Chris Francescani; Editing by Dan Burns)