The photographer who snapped the controversial image of the victim killed by a subway train this week in New York appeared on the Today show this morning to defend his actions.
R. Umar Abbasi says he was too far away to save Ki Suk Han.
The New York Post ran Abbasi’s shot on the front page, stirring debate about journalistic ethics.
Abbasi has said he was trying to alert the train’s driver with his camera flash, and today he said there was nothing he could have done to prevent the tragedy:
If this thing happened again with the same circumstances, whether I had a camera or not, and I was running toward it, I could not have rescued Mr. Han. There was no way. If I could have, I would have.
Abbasi said he had his camera with him because he was heading downtown on assignment for the Post, covering the story of the barefoot homeless man who received a pair of boots from a do-gooder cop.
He said that while he was too far away to assist the victim, there were closer bystanders who could have helped but did nothing:
“Nobody made an effort. … What really surprises is the people who were 100 feet for maybe 150 feet away from Mr. Han did not reach out to help him.”
Abbasi said that as he ran toward the victim, the suspect who shoved Han on the tracks was running toward Abassi:
There’s a lapse in there where I brace myself with my back to the wall because I don’t want to be pushed onto the tracks.