Saturday, September 11, 2021

The 9/11 Boatlift

I did not know, until today, that 500,000 people were evacuated from Manhattan via boat on 9/11.  All  of the routes off the island were closed, so people headed towards the water.  I'm surprised this has received so little attention.  People were so desperate to leave, some were jumping in the water, planning to swim to safe harbor.  At first the ferries and the Coast Guard were picking up people, but then the call went out for more boats.  Party boats, fishing boats and tugs came to get the people.  

As with the land based first responders, many people driving the boats ended up with cancer and lung issues from being in the smoke.

There is an article here that describes what happened that day.  In the article is a link to an 11 minute interview with people who were there, narrated by Tom Hanks. 


  1. That boatlift was an incredible fact and act of caring and mercy. Another thing we forget is the thousands who walked home, down highways, across bridges.

  2. Thanks for the video link. Gripping...

  3. another example of how people come together during catastrophe. too bad it takes catastrophe for us to come together.

  4. I remember that -- people who live in New Jersey, particularly, were stranded in Manhattan because none of the transit was running. (At least people from Brooklyn and Queens could walk home, albeit several miles, and Staten Islanders would use the ferry anyway.) I'll check out the story.

  5. Yep. I stood on the banks of the Hudson near Liberty Harbor and watched them offload. Covered from head to toe in grey dust, faces with thousand-yard stares, looking like the living dead. I will never forget those faces.