Former NY Waterways ferry boat captain recounts experience ferrying thousands to safety on 9/11

With the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks upon us, the vivid memories are still fresh for the boat captains who ferried thousands to safety in the largest marine evacuation in history.

News 12 Staff

Sep 10, 2021, 10:21 PM

Updated 951 days ago

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With the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks upon us, the vivid memories are still fresh for the boat captains who ferried thousands to safety in the largest marine evacuation in history.
Among them is Tony Moyet, who was working as the captain of a New York Waterways ferry, the George Washington -- running the Hoboken to Lower Manhattan route.
It was while he was working that route when terrorists struck the World Trade Center.
Moyet and other ferry captains began evacuating people from Manhattan.
He worked until 3:30 a.m. that day, ferrying people back and forth.
NY Waterway had more than 20 boats working, and ferried 150,000 people to safety.
In all, an estimated 500,000 people escaped by boat in a massive, impromptu flotilla of emergency vehicles, fishing boats, work boats and volunteer recreational boats.
Moyet continued to work at ground zero for another year and a half, ferrying personnel and supplies to the workers and first responders doing recovery.
As a result, years later he would need a miracle of his own. In 2018, Moyet began finding it difficult to breathe. He was diagnosed with COPD and emphysema.
These are conditions doctors attributed to the contaminated air from ground zero.
He was given months to live, eventually relying on an oxygen tank.
On July 2, 2021, he was put on the list for a double lung transplant. Two days later, on the Fourth of July, the captain of the ferry George Washington received his new lungs.
His surgeon, Dr. Jesus Gomez-Abraham, the associate director of Lung Transplant at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, calls it one of the most memorable things he's ever done.
Moyet now looks forward to seeing his 15-year-old daughter graduate from high school. But he'll never forget and always remember people from that day 20 years ago, like one man too stunned to walk off the ferry.
Moyet shared, "He told me he kept on trying to call his wife and she's not answering him, and I felt so sorry for him. He ended up leaving the boat, and to this day I still pray that he found her."
Moyet is registered with the World Trade Center Health Program, a program for those who suffer from illnesses related to their work at the site.
More than 100 mariners who helped with the evacuation are enrolled.  


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