Boatlift: An Untold Tale of 9/11 Resilience, Half A Million People Evacuated By Ordinary People [Video]

This may be the most incredible 9/11 story you may have never heard. This video details the heroic efforts of maritime workers who evacuated over half a million people from Lower Manhattan that were stranded on piers and seawalls.

In the video, we hear Tom Hanks narrate the amazing story of the heroic boatmen that helped evacuate those stranded after the attack on the Twin Towers. The great boatlift of 9/11 became the largest sea evacuation in history. The evacuation was even larger than the evacuation of Dunkirk in World War II where 339,000 British and French soldiers were rescued over the course of nine days. Comparatively, almost 500,000 people were rescued from Manhattan by boat on 9/11 in less than nine hours.


In the story, we hear how the Coast Guard began moving stranded New Yorkers from Lower Manhattan across the bay in order to flee the chaos. However, the Coast Guard was unable to handle the large quantities of people needing rescue. Therefore, the Coast Guard called for the help of any maritime workers who were in the area who could help. In the video, we hear from workers coming from all across the bay, putting their lives on the line to help rescue those in need.

Stories abound of individuals stepping up and helping complete strangers. One boat captain talks about how three businessmen were seen lifting a wheelchair-bound woman to safety on the boat over a railing. Those who were a part of the great rescue noted that though the situation was bad,

“The thing that was the best, everyone helped everyone.”

Had you heard of the great 9/11 boat rescue before this video? Why do you think the history setting rescue was not more widely publicized?


[Image Via US Coast Guard]