A Queens man was killed on Monday when he was thrown onto the tracks at a Times Square subway stop as a train was bearing down. As we reported yesterday, a New York Post photographer happened to be at the station when the man was thrown to the tracks. He photographed the entire thing.
Since the photo of the man about to get hit by the train ran on the front page of yesterday’s paper, the photog — R. Umar Abbasi — has come under fire; people seem to think he should have dropped the camera and helped get the victim, 58-year-old Ki Suk Han, a Queens father and husband, off the tracks.
The Post ignored our request for comment yesterday, but Abbasi explains his decision in an article published this morning.
From Abbasi’s explanation:
The announcement had come over the loudspeaker that the train was
coming — and out of the periphery of my eye, I saw a body flying through
the air and onto the track.
I just started running. I had my
camera up — it wasn’t even set to the right settings — and I just kept
shooting and flashing, hoping the train driver would see something and
be able to stop.
I had no idea what I was shooting. I’m not even
sure it was registering with me what was happening. I was just looking
at that train coming.
It all went so quickly; from the time I heard the shouting until the time the train hit the man was about 22 seconds.
Abbasi goes on to write the following in regards to the outrage over the photo:
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
But I can’t let the armchair critics bother me. They were not there. They have no idea how very quickly it happened.
They do not know what they would have done.
I went into the subway, I had been up in Times Square, and my camera
was still set for outside lighting. The flash was on 1/64th of a second,
which would be split-second recharging.
People think I had time to set the camera and take photos, and that isn’t the case. I just ran toward that train.
sad part is, there were people who were close to the victim, who
watched and didn’t do anything. You can see it in the pictures.
The truth is I could not reach that man; if I could have, I would have.
See Abbasi’s full explanation here.