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

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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."

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