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Blaine Gabbert: Buccaneers quarterback helped save family from helicopter crash via jet ski


Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Blaine Gabbert used jet skis to help rescue the occupants of a helicopter after it crashed into the water on Thursday, he said during of a press conference on Friday.

He and his two brothers, Tyler and Brett, were jet skiing in Hillsborough Bay, Florida when he said he heard “a slight noise”.

“We turned around… and I just remember looking west and seeing – it almost looked like a crew boat that had broken in the water into about four pieces – and I vaguely remember seeing like two yellow life jackets,” Gabbert said.

Once at the site, Gabbert said he realized it was a helicopter in the water and expected the “worst-case scenario”.

Tampa police say the helicopter was returning to Peter O. Knight Airport when the pilot heard a loud bang and then lost power.

About 300 feet from the beach at the airport, the pilot made an emergency landing in the water near the Davis Islands Yacht Club, police said, with all occupants in the water.

“It looked like they were in distress. We ran over there, the youngest child had just arrived and he said he was stuck in there and I asked if anyone else was trapped,” Gabbert said, later recalling in the press conference that the family was visibly shaken and covered in oil from the crash landing.

“Then I called 911, tried to stay as calm as possible…I was just in the right place at the right time. Credit really goes to the Tampa Police Department, Fire Department, and Sheriff’s Department because they were there in less than five seconds.

“It was quite remarkable. I had two on my jet ski, my brothers had one, the pilot was still in the water. That’s when you came.

Footage captured by the Tampa Police Department, which arrived on the scene shortly after Gabbert and his brothers, shows the jet skis circling the crash site and the helicopter pilot boarding the boat from police.

Gabbert and his brothers piloted their jet skis safely to the beach, and he was named an honorary member of the Tampa Police Marine Patrol after participating in Thursday’s rescue.


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