9/11: Rescue on the Water

September 11, 2001. On a clear and sunny day, Captain Richard Thornton is piloting his ferry boat back and forth between New Jersey and New York City. But when he hears an airplane flying too low to the ground, he knows something is wrong. After the World Trade Center’s North Tower is struck, Thornton instinctively drives his ship down towards Lower Manhattan. He will soon be joined by countless other marine craft: ferries, fishing boats, tugboats, and more. With the roads, bridges, and trains that connect the island of Manhattan to the rest of the world shut down, this collection of civilian, commercial, and military boats manages to carry more than 500,000 survivors to safety. How did this impromptu evacuation, which was larger than Dunkirk during WWII, come together? And how does one ferry boat captain reflect on the shared sense of duty he felt on that fateful day?


 

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