Ferry captain, 9/11 hero Thomas Phelan laid to rest

Posted: Updated:
BROOKLYN -

Friends, relatives, colleagues and other mourners turned out for the funeral Tuesday of a Sept. 11 hero whose family says died of complications from his work at Ground Zero.

The FDNY escorted the body of Thomas Phelan, 45, in a firetruck down Fourth Avenue to St. Michael's Church for a final farewell. His cause of death was lung cancer that the FDNY says was a 9/11-related illness.

The Sunset Park native was a ferry captain for Circle Line Statue of Liberty Ferry Cruises at the time of the 9/11 attacks. 

As terrified survivors tried to flee the carnage in lower Manhattan, Phelan helped carry hundreds of them to safety over the water.

He later joined the FDNY and became a marine pilot for the department during his 15-year career there.

"He had a smile that lit up a room, and he had an aura about him that just made you feel better," said Brian Lang, a longtime friend. "He is going to leave a void that we are just not going to replace in this lifetime."

  • SlideshowsMore>>

  • 2018 FIFA World Cup Photos

    2018 FIFA World Cup Photos

    The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicked off June 14 in Russia.The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicked off June 14 in Russia.

    The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicked off June 14 in Russia.

    The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicked off June 14 in Russia.

  • Premiere of 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom'

    Premiere of 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom'

    The premiere of Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment's 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' was held at the Walt Disney Concert Hall on June 12 in Los Angeles, California.The premiere of Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment's 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' was held at the Walt Disney Concert Hall on June 12 in Los Angeles, California.
    The premiere of Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment's 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' was held at the Walt Disney Concert Hall on June 12 in Los Angeles, California.The premiere of Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment's 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' was held at the Walt Disney Concert Hall on June 12 in Los Angeles, California.

    The premiere of Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment's 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' was held at the Walt Disney Concert Hall on June 12 in Los Angeles, California.

    The premiere of Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment's 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' was held at the Walt Disney Concert Hall on June 12 in Los Angeles, California.

  • 2018 US Open Photos

    2018 US Open Photos

    News 12's Kevin Maher takes a fan photo ahead of the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills.News 12's Kevin Maher takes a fan photo ahead of the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills.

    News 12 wants to see your photos from the US Open! Share them on Twitter and Instagram with #N12USOpen.

    News 12 wants to see your photos from the US Open! Share them on Twitter and Instagram with #N12USOpen.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."