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New York is abuzz over the Post's front page photo of a man on a subway track about to be run over. The photographer claims that he was using his camera flash in an attempt to alert the subway train's conductor, to save the guy, actually.

The big question is: what would YOU do if you were on that platform, with your camera, and had only about ten seconds to respond?

Links to Post article and coverage by New York Magazine below:



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There's clearly some stuff going on with this story. The victim apparently coerced the guy. And the attacker did give the guy some good warnings. But the victim was apparently unrelenting and the guy, clearly mentally unstable, finally reacted.

As for the guy photographing, I personally would have tried to do one of two things... tell the guy to run to the far end of the station platform as the train was entering, giving him a better chance of actually staying out of the way or at least tried to get him up on the platform, which is a lot trickier.

But everyone today is all about getting something to tweet, and this guy sold the front page photo to the NY Post. I wonder how much they paid him for the photo, and if that amount was worth a life?

For a Personal Archive

Claiming that he tried to get the conductor's attention with his flash in an attempt to save the guy on the track's life is bullshit. As the train approached the photographer knew exactly what was going to happen, and very likely felt like that dude with a Speed Graphic at the Naval Air Station at Lakehurst, New Jersey, when the Hindenberg was about to dock. Oh, the humanity!

Being a relentless street photographer with little regard for people's privacy (since obviously they don't have a reasonable expectation to have it when they're in a public place!!!) I have very conflicted feelings about this.

But then I settle toward the view that some images--like that one and the ones showing people plunging from the WTC towers--are best left in a personal archive.

Re: For a Personal Archive

Claiming that he tried to get the conductor's attention with his flash in an attempt to save the guy on the track's life is bullshit.

Absolutely. If anything, a flash would have made the motorman look in that direction, rather than down at the track where the victim was struggling to get up. That comment defies all logic and was clearly a cover story for what we know the photog was really doing.

This was a case where someone needed to pull the emergency brake. Does the motorman have that as an option, because it seems like no! But why not, I would ask. Why would every car have an emergency brake (made more difficult to grab with those little metal beeping cases they're in) and none for the motorman?

And actually, now that a passenger can't stand in the front window and look out anymore, a fond childhood remembrance, there's no extra set of eyes that could see what was happening and reach up to pull that cord.

But in the end, I feel this was even worse that the pictures of the people leaping from the towers. There, no options existed for anyone to do anything. Here, there was a bit of time, though clearly not much, to help stop the train, to get the guy off the tracks or to possibly shout instructions to him about what to do. Potentially, anyway.

The whole thing is terrible because it's everybody's fear fantasy which is clearly why the NY Post put it on the cover. But if there's any positive about that, at least now every subway rider is thinking about what they would do if it happened to them.

Re: For a Personal Archive

> someone needed to pull the emergency brake.

I don't know how much distance those subway trains take to stop but I seem to remember one friend who drove Amtrak trains saying that it took over a mile to bring the train to a full stop. Those things have a lot of momentum. By the time the driver is close enough to see someone or something on the tracks, it's too late. Apparently just about every train driver has had to deal with the trauma of having hit someone (often it was someone committing suicide).

Re: For a Personal Archive

For the record, Amtrak trains travel at a much, MUCH higher rate of speed, assuming they aren't either just exiting or entering a station. They run somewhere in the 45-60 mph range, and occasionally higher.

Conversely, a NYC subway gets to a top speed of about 20-25 mph at most, but in this particular case, with the train exiting Times Square (top of the station about 44th street and entering 49th Street (bottom of the station at 48th street) the speed would have been, maybe 15-20 mph. There just isn't enough track between the stations to get to that higher speed. AND the motorman would have already been braking as he entered the station, knocking that down a bit further.

The emergency brake probably could have saved this guy's life (although maybe he might have been minus a limb or two), had anyone known to pull it. Or he could have just wound up suffering a lot longer before his eventual death. Impossible to know.

But my issue is I don't recall hearing of any motorman having access to an emergency brake, which would be a little disturbing if it's true.

Re: For a Personal Archive

Good points. Sadly, this article makes it sound like the motorman did have access to the emergency brake but the train still hit the victim. I can't tell if it's because the train just couldn't stop in time or if the emergency brake didn't do anything though.

Re: For a Personal Archive

For what it's worth, the article mentions that the driver saw the
flashes but couldn't stop in time.

Hopefully I would've tried to help but it doesn't sound like the guy
had a chance. From the story, it sounds like the victim and the guy
who pushed him had been arguing and apparently scaring the other
passengers waiting on the platform. I like to think I would've tried
to help pull the guy out but what he were frantic and just ended up
pulling me onto the tracks with him? What if the the other guy gets
mad and pushed me too? I suspect I would've just frozen and watched

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