Seeking Interviewees: Boat lift mariners & 9/11 evacuees

July 18, 2012
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Jessica DuLong

At long last, I’d like to announce my latest project. I’ve been commissioned by International Marine/McGraw-Hill to write a book about the evacuation of half a million people from Manhattan by boat on September 11, 2001.

Within minutes after thick gray smoke started rolling through the airplane-shaped hole in the North Tower, even before a message from the Coast Guard calling for “all available boats” crackled out over marine radios, white wakes from vessels racing toward Lower Manhattan zigzagged across the harbor.

Soot-covered refugees–some injured and disoriented, some splattered with blood from people who had fallen or jumped from the burning tower–fled to the water’s edge. Soon after the second plane hit, authorities shut down the bridges and tunnels, trapping millions of people in the city. Never was it clearer that Manhattan is an island.

A massive, unplanned mission rescue mission ensued. Ferryboat captains, tug crews, dinner-boat and sailing-yacht operators, and other mariners delivered 500,000 people from Lower Manhattan to points north, and off the island entirely. Later they shuttled rescue workers and critical supplies. In the aftermath of an inconceivable assault, mariners stepped in, spontaneously, to provide invaluable, irreplaceable assistance. Still, more than a decade later, their crucial contributions have gone largely unrecognized.

I’m honored to have been given the opportunity to collect and share the stories of boaters and evacuees who participated in this pivotal event in American history.

Can you help me locate individuals willing to share their experiences? I’m currently interviewing commercial and recreational boaters, people facilitating the evacuation dockside, and individuals who were evacuated by boat either from Lower Manhattan to points north or off the island entirely.

Please email me at: jessica[AT] with any leads. Much appreciated.

1 Comment

  1. Michael McPhillips

    Please contact me I was the Port Captain and in charge of NY Waterway on 9/11