NY Post Photog Defends Himself For Controversial Subway Death Photo [Video]

Dusten Carlson - Author

Sep. 16 2013, Updated 8:11 a.m. ET

Yesterday, we reported that The New York Post had received overwhelming criticism for running a photo of Ki Suk Han on their front page. Han had been pushed onto the subway tracks, and the photo showed him staring at the oncoming train mere moments before it struck and ultimately killed him. The photographer, R. Umar Abbasi, appeared on Today to defend himself and explain why he took a picture instead of intervening.

“It took me a second to figure out what is happening,” he told Today hosts Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie. “The only thing I could think of at the time was to alert the driver with my camera flash, and I started running.”

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Lauer asked: “Was there nothing you could have done?” Abassi defended that there were others nearer to Mr. Han who could have intervened. “It looks like you’re very close,” Lauer said, holding up the controversial issue of the Post.

“This is a frozen moment,” Abbasi said. “There is no way I could have rescued Mr. Han.”

Abbasi also wrote a column for the Post defending his actions.

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“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.

“They do not know what they would have done.

“Before 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.”

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“The truth is I could not reach that man; if I could have, I would have, Abassi said. “But the train was moving faster than I could get there.”

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