Maritime, Portfolio, Writing

My 9/11 rescue and survivor stories reprinted

Two articles I wrote shortly after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre have just been reprinted in a 10-year retrospective.

Tugboat rescuing people escaping collapse of Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001
The tugboat Kathleen Turecamo rescues people from Lower Manhattan (Penn Maritime photo)

The first one, Armada rescues trapped New Yorkers, was based on extensive phone interviews with tugboat owners with Reinauer Transportation and Moran Towing, as well as officials with U.S. Coast Guard Activities New York and Vessel Traffic Services New York.

The second article Escape from the 91st Floor followed an interview with Claire McIntyre – a staffer with the American Bureau of Shipping – and described her dramatic escape from the north tower of the World Trade Centre.

Both articles were printed in Seattle-based Marine Digest magazine, a magazine I edited at one time, which has since changed its name to Cargo Business News. The articles can also be found directly on this website at:

* Armada rescues trapped New Yorkers (9/11)

* Escape from the 91st Floor (9/11)

Other 9/11 boat rescue links:

* List of 9/11 Rescue Boats

* Moran Crews Cited for 9/11 Evacuation Endeavors (Sep. 2005)

2 thoughts on “My 9/11 rescue and survivor stories reprinted”

  1. Thanks Julie. I wrote these articles in the week immediately after 9/11, and they were published in October 2001. So I was slightly amused to see the title of the new video narrated by Tom Hanks – BOATLIFT, An Untold Tale of 9/11 Resilience (See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDOrzF7B2Kg).

    It’s always interesting to look back on stories written in the heat of the moment. In my original Armada story, I used the U.S. Coast Guard’s estimate of 1 million people evacuated by water from Lower Manhattan that day. Ten years on, no one still seems to know the exact numbers. However, the numbers evacuated are now thought to be more like 300,000 to 500,000. Still an impressive number, though, and one of the largest ever in U.S. history. Ferries carried the bulk of the evacuees.

    Re-reading the stories also reminded me how hard it is write about any tragic event without glorifying war or inciting extreme patriotism.

    As for the second story, it’s sometimes the trivial things that stick in my mind. Claire told me the dramatic story of how she ran down 91 flights of steps in the North Tower with her colleagues. And for years afterward, whenever I was in the gym, I’d make sure I climbed the equivalent of 91 floors on the Stairmaster – to make sure I would be fit enough to escape a similar disaster. Illogical, really, as what are the odds of anything like this happening in exactly the same way again? But it’s how I remember the escape from the twin towers.

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