He claims he had no chance to help the man out of the subway tracks.
The New York Post put the picture of Ki Suk Han’s death on its front page on Tuesday. The photo was taken by a Post freelance photographer, R. Umar Abassi, who happened to be in the subway that day.
Abassi claims he started taken pictures in hopes that his camera’s flash will alert the subway driver to the situation.
The photos had been debated by photojournalists. Some say Abassi had a duty to help while others defend his actions.
Abassi has appeared on “Today” and has been interviewed by the New York Times where he defended the photographers.
In the Post, Abassi said the image has haunted him. He wrote:
“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.”
Matt Lauer from morning show pointed out that there were 22 seconds between Han being pushed and the subway hitting him.
Lauer asked Abassi, “22 seconds is a long time.”
“Was there nothing you could have done?”
“The people who were standing close to him… they could have,” Abbassi replied.
“It looks like you’re very close,” Lauer said as he held up the Post front page.
“This is a frozen moment,” Abbasi said.
He explained that the train hit Han a second later. “There is no way I could have rescued Mr. Han,” he said.
What do you think of this story? Does Abassi have a duty to Han? Should he have helped him? What would you do in that situation?