Tag Archives: boatlift

Armada rescues trapped New Yorkers (9/11)

Pix tugs to the rescue in New York

Tugboats rush to Battery Park, at the southern tip of Manhattan, to evacuate New Yorkers on Sept. 11, 2001. (Pix: Mike Hvozda, US Coast Guard)

By Alison Bate, October 2001 (Revised June 2019)

An armada of tugboats, ferries and small craft came to the rescue of hundreds of thousands of trapped New Yorkers on the day of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

They ferried survivors to safety. They helped bring out bodies. They brought hot food for the workers, and now they are at work helping clear the rubble.

Tugboat rescuing people escaping collapse of Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001

The tugboat Kathleen Turecamo rescues people from Lower Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2001 (Penn Maritime photo)

The U.S. Coast Guard is full of praise for all the mariners involved. It estimates nearly one million people were evacuated by sea. (*See revision note at end of article)

Lt. Michael Day from Coast Guard Activities New York, was on board the Pilot Boat New York helping coordinate the mass evacuation.

“It was a shining hour for the maritime community,” said Day, Chief of the Waterways Oversight Branch. “They did a remarkable job.”


On Tuesday Sept.11, two hijacked jet liners flew into the World Trade Center towers in a terrorist attack. The USCG put out a distress call for all tugs and small craft in the area to respond. Nobody could get off lower Manhattan and survivors were fleeing down to the waterfront. Continue reading