I had not heard about the “boatlifters” on September 11, 2001 until today. Some 500,000 people were helped out of New York City after the attacks on the World Trade Towers, said to be the largest boatlift in history. People were reportedly jumping into the river to get away, and the story is that boats were dangerously close to running over them. The video below is a ten minute documentary. Keep in mind that as these water angels helped to rescue so many, they did so knowing there could be another attack anytime.
It was the largest boatlift ever to have happened – greater than the one at Dunkirk during World War II. Yet somehow a story of such large scale became lost in all the rubble. But a new 10-minute documentary called Boatlift by Eddie Rosenstein captures the boat evacuations that happened on 9/11. The film is part of four new short documentaries that were created for the 9/11 Tenth Anniversary Summit in Washington, D.C.
“Boats, usually an afterthought in most New Yorkers minds, were, for the first time in over a century, the only way in or out of lower Manhattan,” says Tom Hanks, the narrator of the film.
New Yorkers don’t really think of Manhattan as an island since everything from the basics to beyond your wildest imagination is so accessible — not typically a feature associated with island life. But on September 11, 2001, those trapped below the World Trade Center site who could not escape without swimming or being rescued by a boat were acutely reminded of that fact.
Accounts of people coming through the smog, covered in dust, “looking like Zombies.” In the video you hear the call from the Coast Guard to help “evacuate Lower Manhattan.” Chilling! Heart Warming. Goosebump producing. God Bless the American people. Thanks to David Lemon who found this story.See his beautiful hula dancer in bronze.
The Boatlifters of 9/11/01 (video)