The wife of a New York City man who was pushed onto subway tracks to his death by a mumbling stranger says she and her husband had argued before the incident.

Ki-Suck Han, 58, of Queens, died at a hospital shortly after being hit by an oncoming train Monday at the Times Square subway station.

His widow told the New York Post she tried to call him after their 11 a.m. fight, but he never picked up.

A man pushed Han around 12:30 p.m., reports the Post, after a confrontation on the platform.

Han approached the man — who was described as a panhandler — after he cursed at commuters. Others on the platform moved away from the man, and stood about 30 metres away.

The man pushed Han onto the tracks after an announcement for an oncoming train.

Freelancer's photo raises controversy

The Post said one of its freelance photographers was on the platform as the ordeal unfolded. Umar Abbasi said he tried to warn the subway operator by flashing his camera. The train operator told him he couldn't stop the train fast enough, said Abbasi, despite seeing the warning flashes.

One of Abbasi's photos shows Han on the tracks, arms on the platform, looking at the train as it bears down on him. The Post used the photo on its front page Tuesday, gathering some harsh criticism online for the choice.

One woman, a second-year resident at a hospital, attempted to perform first-aid, but it was impossible given Han's position and injuries.

The Post reports the panhandler fled immediately after pushing Han, and was last seen running out of the station.

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Tuesday that detectives are still seeking a suspect. There is a $12,000 US reward for information leading to an arrest.

With files from CBC News