Famous U.S. hero-firefighter who saved hundreds on 9/11 dies at age 45

Cheryl Kahla
Mar 19, 2018
01:04 P.M.
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The former ferry captain will be remembered for his bravery on September 11, 2001, when he helped hundreds of people escape to safety. 


Marine Pilot Thomas Phelan died on Friday, March 16, 2018, at the age of 45. He lost the battle to cancer, and it is believed his illness was related to the 9/11 attacks. 

As reported by NBC New York, Phelan worked as a Statue of Liberty ferry captain at the time of the attack and used his boat to transport people from Lower Manhatten to safety.

New York Senator Martin Golden commended him for helping people cross to the other side of the Hudson River, away from the blazing World Trade Center. 


The senator took to Facebook on March 18, 2018, to express his grief. He was saddened to hear about the Phelan's passing and said he will 'always be remembered as a true New York City hero.' 

According to Senator Golden, Phelan joined the New York City Fire Department in 2003, where he continued to save lives on a daily basis. 

'"In our city’s darkest hour, FDNY firefighter Thomas Phelan’s heroism saved hundreds of lives. We will never forget his service and his sacrifice.'

Mayer Bill de Blasio, Twitter, March 18, 2018.

While it is not known what type of cancer Phelan was diagnosed with, CNN reported that 'thousands of people have been diagnosed with cancer linked to the 9/11 attacks.'


The cause is believed to be exposure to 'known and suspected carcinogens and pollutants' from ground zero. Several first responders and cleanup workers have been diagnosed. 

A war veteran who uses the Twitter handle 'Wake Up People' explained that the health issues were caused by noxious fumes and reminded citizens that Congress voted against helping first responders and refused to assist with funds for medical treatment. 

Phelan will be laid to rest on Tuesday, March 20, 2018, in Brooklyn.