Why did no one help him Outrage as commuters stand back while man desperately tries to escape path of New York subway train
Ki Suk Han, 58, killed after landing on tracks at 49th Street in ManhattanSuspect arrested today one block from subway station in Times Square
23:01 GMT, 4 December 2012
A passenger who witnessed a man being crushed by a subway train today spoke of his anger at the failure of 18 people on the platform to save him – including the photographer who had time to take chilling pictures of his final moments.
Patrick Gomez, who admitted that he also ‘froze’ at the scene, said it was a ‘real shame’ that no-one had the courage to ‘step up’ and attempt to rescue Ki Suk Han, 58, after he was pushed onto the line at the New York subway station yesterday afternoon.
Gomez, 37, said: 'People who were on the platform could have pulled him up but they didn't have the courage. They just didn't react like that.'
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Grisly death: 58-year-old Ki Suk Han was killed by a subway train after being pushed into its path in Times Square on Monday
And he reserved his strongest criticism for photographer R. Umar Abbasi, who shot
the chilling photograph of Mr Han watching as the subway train barreled towards him in the final moments.
image appeared on the front page of the New York Post this morning with
the headline 'Doomed'. The 58-year-old can be seen looking at the train
with his arms outstretched he tries to heave himself out of its path.
Controversial: Tuesday's New York Post cover
Mr Gomez spoke for millions who expressed their outrage today at the commuters on the Times Square platform who
witnessed the man being pushed in front of the train but did not try to
pull him to safety.
Many had moved away from an argument which was taking place between Mr Han and his suspected attacker, just moments before the fatal incident at around 12.30pm on Monday afternoon.
It came as the man suspected of pushing Mr Han was arrested on Tuesday afternoon.
The man, who has not been identified, was found around one block from the Times Square subway station where Mr Han died.
Speaking to MailOnline, Mr Gomez admitted that he had not helped because he had not seen the initial scuffle between Mr Han and his attacker and was confused about what was happening.
Mr Gomez, a 37-year-old sanitation manager from Saddle Brook, New Jersey, said: 'I was at the north end of the platform, so about 30ft away from where he went onto the track.
'The first thing I knew something was wrong when I heard people screaming and screeching.
'Then the train was coming in and I heard a thud, like it was hitting something.
'I'd say the guy was on the rails for between 30 and 45 seconds trying to get up before he was hit.
'I didn't know what had happened. It could have been a terrorist attack, I just didn't know what to do and I just stood there.
'Before the impact I saw some people running up the stairs to where they sell Metrocards, but they were running away from the scene.
'The cops turned up within minutes and started evacuating people and that's when I left'.
Mr Gomez had wondered why the photographer didn't help rather than take pictures.
He said: 'I didn't see the photographer but I gather he was at the southern end of the platform taking pictures as the train was coming in.
Suspect: The man who was 'emotionally disturbed' witnesses said before he pushed Mr Han into the path of an oncoming train
'If he had enough time to take
pictures, why didn't he help It's kind of sad. He's been saying he was
flashing the driver to get his attention but that's just not credible.
'He's just saying that because we're scrutinising him'.
Mr Gomez said that it was a 'real shame' nobody had 'stepped up' to help Mr Han.
added: 'I think it was the time of day that was a factor. It was
12.30pm and there were not a lot of people on the platform as it is a
local stop. Some of them were tourists too.
say eight were elderly or were women and might not have been able to
help the guy off the track. Had they done so we might have had a double
'It was pandemonium, I think people just panicked'.
Photographer Mr Abbasi explained that he was racing towards the oncoming train
firing off his flash in a desperate
attempt to get the driver to slow down.
He told the New York Post: 'I just started running, running, hoping that the driver could see my flash.'
The photographer described seeing Mr Han being crushed 'like a rag doll'.
Not a lot of people were on the platform… I'd say eight were elderly or were women and might not have been able to help the guy off the track. Had they done so we might have had a double tragedy.
Witness Patrick Gomez
He added: 'Out of the periphery of my eye, I just saw a body flying, flying through the air. People
started waving their hands, anything they could find. They were
shouting to the man in the tracks, “Get out! Get out of there!”'
Twitter lit up with criticism about Mr Han's horrifying death. Chris
Cuomo, ABC 20/20 anchor, wrote on Twitter: 'Man pushed onto subway
tracks. Some wave at train to stop, others take pics of man. No one goes
to help him What am I missing'
ABC producer Micah Grimes added: 'HOW ABOUT HELP THE GUY OUT!'
Confessore, a political reporter for The New York Times, called Mr Hun
'the Kitty Genovese of our time' – referring to a Queens woman whose
murder was witnessed by neighbors in 1964 and yet they did not call the
Dr Laura Kaplan, 27, a second-year
resident at Beth Israel Medical Center, told how people were shouting
and yelling when the tragedy happened but were running in the other
After Mr Han was fatally struck by the train, she said she used her stethoscope and heard what she thought were heart sounds, but he never took a
Another passenger reported seeing blood coming from Mr Han's mouth and said it had been impossible to give him CPR.
The two men were seen arguing before the unidentified man (left) was 'pushed' to his death
The 'pushing suspect' (right) was described as 'emotionally disturbed'
Mr Abbasi added: 'The
most painful part was I could see him getting closer to the edge. He
was getting so close. 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 attacker] until after. In that moment, I just wanted to warn the train — to try and save a life.'
Questions have been raised about the photographer's decision to snap pictures of the grim moment and of the newspaper's decision to splash them across the front page with the words: 'Pushed on the subway tracks this man is about to die.'
Larry King wrote: 'Did @NYPost go to far' while others dubbed it 'gratuitous, not news' and 'sickening rubber-necking'.
Mr Han, a father-of-one, was crushed to death after being hurled
onto the tracks by a crazed panhandler who had been harassing people
waiting on the platform at Times Square station.
Fatal fall: A man was killed after being hit by a New York subway train today after it is believed he was pushed
There have been varying reports that there was a dispute between the men. This video, on Nbcnewyork.com,
shows the alleged attacker shouting: 'Leave me the f**k alone. Take
your m*********ing a** over there, stand in line, wait for the R train,
The New York Post quoted 'law-enforcement sources' as saying Mr Han had been trying to calm the man down before being attacked.
went up and tried to calm him down, saying, ‘You’re scaring people, The
emotionally disturbed guy just started screaming and cursing, saying,
‘You don’t know me! You don’t know who I am!'
said that after being thrown onto the tracks Mr Han had barely missed being electrocuted on the third rail and
looked stunned as he sat up with the train bearing down on
He then scrambled to his feet and tried in vain to clamber back onto the platform.
One witness reported seeing him being dragged 10 to 15 feet before the train finally came to a halt.
Terror: The NYPD guard the entrance to the subway in Times Square after a 58-year-old man was pushed on to the tracks by a stranger
Han, who lived with his wife and daughter in Elmhurst, was taken to
Roosevelt Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
A neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: 'He lived in this part of Queens for a couple of years. He used to take out the trash in the morning, have a smoke. He was a very nice man. It's every New Yorker's nightmare, some crazy guy on the subway.'
Another neighbor, who has lived in the area for 15 years, recalled Mr Han as a friendly man who worked hard on his home and was always ready with a 'good morning' or 'good day.'
She said: 'So many people don't want to talk to each other. I came here from Russia in '49.
'I love America this is my home but this poor man, so polite, he spoke a little English, he took his time with it. He was a good man trying to help and look at what happened. Nobody here can believe it.'
Mr Han was unemployed according to his wife who spoke briefly to the Korean Courier.
Mrs Han who has a college-age daughter was said to be shocked and distraught as she left the couple's red-brick, low-rise home in Queens last night. A pair of men's trainers sat discarded in the front garden.
wife said she had argued with her husband, who had been drinking,
before he left the house at around 11am and headed into Manhattan.
She said she tried calling him several times in an attempt to calm him down but he did not pick up her calls. One witness claimed Mr Han had been the aggressor and authorities reportedly found a bottle of vodka on his body afterward.
Horror: Commuters watched aghast as a man fell onto the tracks at 49th Street and was then hit by a train
Fear: The commuter who died did not appear to know the man who pushed him into the path of an oncoming train
The attacker, who is
described as black, 30 to 40 years old, about 5-foot-9, with short
dreadlocks and wearing a white T-shirt, dark jacket, filthy jeans, black
sneakers with a white stripe and a black beanie cap, collected his
paper cup full of change before running out of the station’s 47th Street
He is being hunted by police who were last night scouring surveillance video for signs of him.
The fire department said that two people who witnessed the man's gruesome death had to be treated for trauma. The station is located just off 7th Avenue in midtown and has four tracks and two platforms.
The train’s operator was taken from the station in a wheelchair, wearing an oxygen mask and was treated for shock.
A transit source said: 'He’s traumatized'.
VIDEO: The moment the two men argued on the platform…
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