Jet ski NFL quarterback Blaine Gabbert helps rescue victims of a helicopter crash
Tampa Bay Buccaneers backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert became an off-field hero Thursday when he helped rescue victims of a helicopter crash.
Gabbert was jet skiing with brothers Brett and Tyler in Hillsborough Bay when he heard “a faint noise” nearby.
“It almost looked like a crew boat in the water that was broken into about four pieces,” he told a news conference, adding that life jackets were also visible.
“We went over there,” he said, realizing it wasn’t a crew boat. It was the wreckage of a helicopter that crashed into the bay with the pilot and three passengers on board.
Gabbert said he called 911 and got two of the victims to safety on his jet ski, while one of his brothers helped a third as first responders rescued the pilot:
Buc’s backup QB Blaine Gabbert and his brothers helped rescue 4 people after a helicopter crashed in Tampa Bay Thursday
Gabbert says they helped get the crash victims to safety on their jet skis 🙏
– Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 30, 2022
“Let me tell you, helicopters descend very quickly,” passenger Hunter Hupp, who flew with his parents, told Fox Sports. “We learned that pretty quickly.”
He said he believes his mother was one of the two rescued by the quarterback.
“My mom said she was hoping to meet Tom Brady while we were down here,” he said, referring to the Bucs’ famous starting quarterback. “I think she came damn close.”
ESPN said the news spread quickly, and Gabbert received a text message from Bucs general manager Jason Licht within about 45 minutes of the rescue.
“I honestly wanted to remain anonymous,” he told the network, saying the rescue was thanks to first responders. “I just thought I was doing the right thing at the right time. I’m not the type to be in the limelight.”
Tampa Bay Police Officer Dan Spears told CBS News that Gabbert and his brothers “had almost completed the rescue” when first responders arrived.
The department made Gabbert an honorary member of their naval unit.