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September 11, 2001 evacuation from Lower Manhattan, also known as the 9/11 Boatlift

Photo courtesy New York City Police Department

The 9/11 Boatlift: The Unsung Heroes of September 11, 2001

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 5098
September 11, 2023

In the wake of the tragic events that unfolded on September 11, 2001, when the world witnessed the unthinkable destruction of the World Trade Center in New York City, a remarkable story of resilience emerged from the chaos. Amidst the smoke and debris, merchant mariners commanding a flotilla of ferries, tugboats and other vessels came together in a spontaneous act of heroism to evacuate over a half million from Lower Manhattan in what became the largest maritime rescue in U.S. history.

The short documentary “BOATLIFT: An Untold Tale of 9/11 Resilience” captures this remarkable story of courage, unity, and resilience.

Narrated by Tom Hanks, “BOATLIFT” is a powerful and moving short documentary that sheds light on the lesser-known heroes of that fateful day – the boat captains, crew members, and ordinary citizens who embarked on an extraordinary mission to rescue stranded individuals from lower Manhattan.

As the towers crumbled and the city descended into chaos, hundreds of thousands of people found themselves trapped below Canal Street, desperately seeking an escape from the mayhem. With all transportation networks paralyzed, the waterways surrounding Manhattan became the only viable means of evacuation.

“BOATLIFT” captures the inspiring efforts of boat owners and operators who, without hesitation, steered their vessels towards the burning skyline, defying the understandable fear that gripped the city. These individuals, many of whom had never participated in a rescue mission before, took on the role of saviors.

The documentary showcases gripping firsthand accounts of these boat captains and their passengers, as well as the people who made a difference on that day. It captures the tension and uncertainty of the situation, as well as the immense relief that washed over both rescuers and survivors as they made their way to safety.

It is a poignant reminder of the remarkable acts of heroism that occurred on that fateful day and pays tribute to the unsung heroes who sprung into action to save countless lives. “BOATLIFT” is a story that deserves to be remembered and shared. Watch below:

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