All access to Manhattan was shut down after the attack. The tunnels. The bridges. The subways. The airports.
That left just the water surrounding the island. Some people reportedly started jumping into the river.
Boat captains from private vessels to public ferries responded.
Then a Coast Guard vessel put out a call for any available boats to come help evacuate the tip of Manhattan.
Within 15 minutes, a hundred vessels were on the horizon.
The water evacuation on September 11, 2001 of New York City is estimated to have been twice as big as the sea rescue at Dunkirk when an estimated 330,000 Allied troops evacuated from the beach during World War II.
Here’s an inspiring video featuring the voices of some of the seamen who came to the rescue.
My thanks to the crew of Tampa’s WWII SS American Victory Mariner’s Museum Ship for sharing this video that demonstrates the marine community’s strength and bravery in a time of need.