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New York Post subway photographer: Too far to rescue man from subway tracks

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NEW YORK (AP) - The photographer who took the picture of a New York City man who'd been pushed into the path of a subway train says he was too far down the platform to have saved him.

Freelance photographer R. Umar Abbasi tells NBC's "Today" show that he wasn't trying to take a photo of the man, but was trying to alert the motorman to what was going on. He says he's shocked that people nearer to the victim didn't try to help in 22 seconds before the train struck.

"It took me a second to figure out what was happening ... I saw the lights in the distance. My mind was to alert the train," Abbasi said.

"The people who were standing close to him ... they could have moved and grabbed him and pulled him up. No one made an effort," he added.

Ethical and emotional questions arose Tuesday over the published photograph of the helpless man standing before the oncoming train accompanied by the headline that read in part: "This man is about to die."

The moral issue among professional photojournalists in such situations is "to document or to assist," said Kenny Irby, an expert in the ethics of visual journalism at the Poynter Institute, a Florida-based nonprofit journalism school.

Other media outlets chimed in on the controversy, many questioning why the photograph had been taken and published.

"I'm sorry. Somebody's on the tracks. That's not going to help," said Al Roker on NBC's "Today" show as the photo was displayed Tuesday.

Abbasi said he did not control how the images were used in the Post, but he did tell the "Today" show he has sold the images.

Copyright Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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