Blaine Gabbert: Buccaneers quarterback helped save family after jet ski helicopter crash
Tampa Bay Buccaneers defender Blaine Gabbert used jet skis to help rescue helicopter passengers after it crashed and landed in the water on Thursday, he said at a press conference on Friday.
He and his two brothers, Tyler and Brett, were water skiing in Hillsborough Bay, Florida, when they heard “a faint noise,” he said.
“We turned around… and I just remember looking to the west and seeing – it almost looked like a crew boat that broke into about four pieces in the water – and I vaguely remember seeing two yellow life jackets,” Gabbert said. .
Upon reaching the site, Gabbert said he realized it was a helicopter in the water and expected the “worst case scenario”.
Tampa police said the helicopter was returning to Peter O. Knight Airport when the pilot allegedly heard a loud bang and then lost power.
About 300 feet from the airport’s beach, the pilot crash-landed into the water near the Davis Islands Yacht Club and all the passengers ended up in the water, police said.
“Looks like they were in trouble. We rushed there, the youngest child just came up and he said that he was squeezed there, and I asked if anyone else was stuck, ”Gabbert said, recalling later at a press conference that the whole family was clearly shocked and covered with oil from a crash landing.
“Then I called 911, tried to remain as calm as possible … I was in the right place, at the right time. Actually credit to the Tampa Police Department, Fire Department and Sheriff’s Department because they were there within five seconds.
“It was pretty remarkable. I had two on the jet ski, my brothers had one, the pilot was still in the water. That was when you guys showed up.”
Footage Filmed by the Tampa Police Department, who arrived on the scene shortly after Gabbert and his brothers, show jet skis circling over the crash site and a helicopter pilot boarding a police boat.
Gabbert and his brothers returned safely to their jet skis to the beach, and after his part in the rescue operation on Thursday, he was made an honorary member of the Tampa Police Marine Patrol.