Doug Liman helps rescue boaters in N.Y.

Director saw cargo ship, speedboat collide

NEW YORK -- It wasn't a movie set and there were no cameras rolling, but when the director of the "Bourne Identity" films saw a cargo ship slam into a speedboat on the Hudson River, he jumped into action.

Director Doug Liman and producer Avram Ludwig told the Associated Press they were on their sailboat on the river in New York around 1 a.m. Wednesday when they saw a black cargo ship and a speedboat on a collision course. They said they watched in horror as the large craft crashed into the smaller boat and kept going.

Both Liman and Ludwig said they didn't expect to find any survivors, but found four people screaming for help when they motored to the scene. Liman and Ludwig said they rescued three passengers from the water, while the owner of the vessel refused to leave his speedboat.

The man held on to a small piece of hull still bobbing on the water until police and fire crews arrived. All four were brought to shore and taken to St. Vincent's hospital with minor injuries.

Police said the cargo ship probably did not notice the smaller boat.

The Coast Guard on Thursday would not confirm the crash, saying only that the agency was investigating a "possible collision" between two vessels on the Hudson.

Liman and Ludwig were at AP headquarters in New York on Thursday, filming a new movie called "Fair Game." They said it was "a miracle" all four people survived the crash.

"I just think the Hudson River, at this moment in time, has to have some kind of good karma," said Liman, recalling how Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger landed a US Airways plane safely on the river in January after the plane struck a flock of geese.

Liman has directed numerous films, including "Swinger" and "Mr. and Mrs. Smith." He said no Hollywood action sequence could compare to the rush of adrenaline he felt during Wednesday's rescue. But Ludwig said producing action movies has helped the two deal with emergency situations.

"Simulating life-threatening situations prepares you for real life," Ludwig said. "We can keep a level head under a lot of pressure."