December 4 (RIA Novosti) - New York City police on Tuesday were searching for a man suspected of pushing a passenger onto the subway tracks, where he was crushed and killed by an oncoming train.
Images of the horrifying incident in midtown Manhattan on Monday were captured partially on film by a freelance photographer who snapped photographs of the victim as he stared at the train seconds before his death.
The victim, 58-year-old Ki Suk Han, began arguing with the suspect around 12:30 p.m. Monday on a subway platform at the 49th Street station, near Times Square, according to witnesses.
The suspect, a panhandler, had been haranguing passengers waiting for the train, and Han attempted to calm him down, the New York Post cited police sources as saying.
“He went up and tried to calm him down, saying, ‘You’re scaring people,’” a law-enforcement source said, the newspaper reported.
Police released footage from a surveillance camera showing the two men arguing shortly before the quarrel turned fatal.
At some point during the argument, the suspect pushed Han onto the tracks, witnesses said. Photographs published by the New York Post show the victim struggling to get up from the tracks and then trying to pull himself up onto the platform with the train bearing down on him.
“As he attempted to climb out of the well, he was struck by the train and got wedged between the platform and the train car,” New York City Police Department (NYPD) spokesman Paul Browne told the New York Times.
Umar Abbasi, the freelance photographer who took the photographs of the tragedy published by the New York Post on Tuesday, said he ran toward the train and snapped his flash in an attempt to alert the driver that Han was on the tracks.
“I just started running, running, hoping that the driver could see my flash,” Abbasi told the newspaper.
Han was taken to a local hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
The train’s driver appeared to have hit the brakes in an unsuccessful attempt to avoid the fatal collision, and the train screeched before it struck Han, the New York Times cited witnesses as saying.
The driver was reportedly treated for shock following the tragedy. Television footage showed him being taken from the station in a wheelchair.
Han lived in the New York City borough of Queens with his wife and college-age daughter, media reported.
“He’s very nice. He takes out the garbage, he sweeps the front,” a next-door neighbor of Han’s told the Wall Street Journal. “He would sit in the front and smoke his cigarettes, he would do his barbecue in the back.”
The NYPD tweeted a photograph of the suspect Tuesday morning. At least one witness believed the suspect was mentally disturbed, Browne, the NYPD spokesman, told the New York Times.