Who Let This Man Die on the Subway?

There's one big question about today's intense cover of the New York Post: Why didn't anyone help him?

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There's one big question about today's intense cover of the New York Post: Why didn't anyone help him? If there's enough time to capture a dying man's last moments before getting hit by an oncoming train that's that worthy of a tabloid cover, couldn't the photographer have lent a hand? That's what the Post's team of writers implicitly answers in the first half of their story about Ki Suk Han—the man pushed onto the tracks of a New York subway train by a panhandler Monday afternoon. "Post freelance photographer R. Umar Abbasi — who had been waiting on the platform of the 49th Street station — ran toward the train, repeatedly firing off his flash to warn the operator," write the team of Larry Celona, Antonio Antenucci, Christina Carrega, and Jeane MacIntosh. "Post freelance photographer" sounds like Abbassi got paid. "I just started running, running, hoping that the driver could see my flash," explained Abbasi. Getting a conductor's attention with a flash — and maybe even blinding him with it — doesn't seem like the way you'd necessarily help someone that's clinging to the subway platform. And that's the burning question on the Twitterverse's mind:

And that's assuming they can get past the macabre rubber-necking of the whole thing:

The Post's picture of the suspect (right) isn't as clear as Han's dying moments. And one of the reasons people couldn't help him, according to one witness, was that people had crowded on one side of the platform to avoid Han and the panhandler—according to this timeline, Han was pushed right before a train came, and since people were crowded on the other side, he couldn't be helped in time. Abbasi, the photographer, explains why he was shooting instead of running with the other people trying to save Han:

"The most painful part was I could see him getting closer to the edge. He was getting so close," Abbasi said. "And people were running toward him and the train."

"As I was running toward the train, the man I believe pushed him ran the other way, and I heard him say, ‘Goddamn motherf--ker.'

"I didn’t think about [the perp] until after. In that moment, I just wanted to warn the train — to try and save a life."

Update: A man is in custody, NBC New York reports, as fellow photographers come to Abbassi's defense.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.