Tabloid photographer R. Umar Abbasi says he could not have saved subway victim

R. Umar Abbasi on the Today show Wednesday.

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 Suk 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 Queens.

“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 die.”

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 from Queens.

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 media.

“disappointed & 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.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

'Barack Obama cheats on Michelle' claims Japanese politician…

A senior Japanese politician has marred Barack Obama's official visit to Tokyo with bizarre claims that the President cheats on his wife Michelle. Kazuyuki Hamada,…

International

British Royal family devastated by freak NY death…

The British royals have been left devastated by the death of Mark Shand, younger brother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, after a freak fall in…

Local

DA: Homeless man severely beat by men in…

Two former college football players pleaded not guilty to the alleged severe beating of a homeless man in Allston earlier this year.

National

Hamas, Abbas's PLO announce reconciliation agreement

The Gaza-based Islamist group Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) agreed on Wednesday to a unity pact.

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 9

It was only an hour-long episode, but there's a lot to cover this week. The drama of Survivor strikes again as the identity of the…

Going Out

Thursty: Revamped Audubon is back in action

Having been a long time fan of Trina's Starlite Lounge in Inman Square, one of my only complaints about the place is that there's only…

Entertainment

Here's what to do in Boston this weekend

MUSIC Huun Huur Tu Friday, 8 p.m. First Church in Cambridge 11 Garden St., Cambridge $28, 617-876-4275 www.worldmusic.org This group comes from the tiny nation…

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 23: 'Suburgatory,' 'Modern…

'Suburgatory' The men of "Suburgatory" go camping and Tessa mentors a social outcast in a Miss Chatswin contest, which brings her, once again, into conflict…

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox top Yankees, 5-1

John Lackey shines, Pineda ejected in Red Sox win

NHL

Bruins - Red Wings Game 4 preview: Boston…

Bruins - Red Wings Game 4 preview: Boston greedy for more dominance

MLB

Fantasy baseball: Searching for early season prospects

It’s relatively rare for a mediocre 30-year-old hitter to suddenly go nuts offensively for 162 games. That’s why minor league prospects are so exciting.

Style

Pippa Middleton's Etsy pick: Golden Thread Jewelry

Get a look at the jewelry Pippa Middleton loves and find out how you can buy it too.

Parenting

What every parent needs to know to get…

Mom and author of "Small Talk," Tracey Blake, shares her five practical tips to help you develop your children's language skills.

Sex

Subway crush: Meet your soulmate on your commute

Read about a couple who has been 40 years after meeting on the train.

Tech

Happy birthday, Game Boy! The handheld console turns…

Nintendo's Game Boy turns 25 this week. To commemorate, we look at some of its better games, like "Tetris" and "The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening."