A subway passenger was crushed to death after he was pushed onto the tracks by a panhandler believed to be mentally deranged. The victim, Ki Suk Han, 58, struggled to escape just before he was crushed to death by a train pulling into Times Square.
The video released by the police shows Han arguing with the suspect moments before the tragic incident that occurred at around 12:30 p.m. on Monday afternoon, the Daily Mail reports.
It is uncertain what the dispute between the two men was about, but The New York Post reports police said Han was making efforts to calm the man down before he suddenly pushed him. Han had told the man that he was scaring people, but the man started yelling at him, saying: "You don’t know me! You don’t know who I am!"
The video shows the allegedly mentally disturbed panhandler shouting: "Leave me the f**k alone. Take your m*********ing a** over there, stand in line, wait for the R train, that's it."
A freelance photographer for The New York Post, R. Umar Abbasi, who captured Han's last moment, said he raced towards the oncoming train, firing his flash in the attempt to get the driver to slow down. According to The New York Post, Abbasi said: "I just started running, running, hoping that the driver could see my flash."
According to Abbasi, the train crushed Han "like a rag doll." He said: "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!'"
He continued: "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."
Police say that after he fell on the tracks, he narrowly missed being electrocuted. He was unable to climb off the track in time because, at first, he was stunned, but when he saw the train bearing down on him he scrambled to his feet and struggled to get back on the platform.
According to DNAInfo, a witness, said: "There was an argument. It was all so quick... You could see the train coming... while he was on the tracks."
William Van Alstyne, 32, of Brownsville, said he saw "a 5-to-10-foot trail of blood" on the platform after the victim's body had been removed.
A commuter Patrick Gomez, 37, said: "You heard almost like a thud. You heard people yelling, people running out... People were just standing in shock."
According to The New York Post, Mayor Bloomberg said: “It's one of those great tragedies, it's a blot on all of us. And if you could do anything to stop it, you would. But the good news is it happens phenomenally rarely.”
A doctor Dr. Laura Kaplan, 27, a student at Beth Israel Medical Center, tried to administer first aid, but Mr Han had stopped breathing and could not be resuscitated. She said: “It was terrifying, but you run on adrenaline. There was no pulse, never, no reflexes.I heard what I thought were heart sounds. We started compressions, which is half of CPR. We were unable to perform rescue breathing [the other half of CPR] because there was blood coming out of his mouth. He wasn't in the right position [for full CPR] and there was just no way to get him out of there. It was apparent there was not much I could do -- but you can’t not do something, you have to try.”
He was taken to Roosevelt Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
DNAInfo reports Han lived with his wife and daughter in Elmhurst. His wife said she had an argument with him before he left the house around 11 a.m. because of his drinking.
She said she tried calling him several times after he left home but he did not pick up her calls.
The Daily Mail reports a witness reportedly said Han was the aggressor in the argument with the panhandler. Police reportedly found a bottle of vodka on his body.
The man who pushed him on the tracks 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 exit."
Police say they are hunting for him.
According to the Daily Mail, the fire department said two witnesses were treated for trauma. The train’s operator was also treated for shock. He was seen being taken from the station in a wheelchair, wearing an oxygen mask.
Digital Journal reports that The New York Post came under criticism after it ran a cover about the story on Tuesday morning with the caption "Pushed on the subway track, this man is about to die... DOOMED." The cover featured a photograph of Han just before the train ran over him.
DNAInfo carries the message:
"Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential."