“The greatest thing I ever did with my life.”
The largest sea evacuation in history took place on September 11, 2001, when nearly 500,000 civilians were rescued from Manhattan by boat in less than nine hours. By comparison, during World War II, the evacuation after the Battle of Dunkirk saved 339,000 British and French soldiers over the course of nine days.
Many of the rescue boats were private watercraft whose owners volunteered to ferry thousands to safety.
“No training, just people doing what they had to do that day,” said a man who worked on one of the boats.
“Average people, they stepped up when they needed to,” said another.