Skip to main content

Bucs QB Blaine Gabbert helped rescue family from water landing

Dec 25, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Blaine Gabbert (11) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Buccaneers backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert hasn’t taken a snap under center this season, but he sure was involved in a key play on Thursday.

Gabbert and other bystanders helped rescue a man, his parents and a pilot after the helicopter in which they were traveling made an emergency landing off the coast of Davis Islands near Tampa at 5 p.m. ET.

Hunter Happ, 28, said he heard a popping sound in the aircraft’s rotor, per the Tampa Bay Times. Tampa Police Department lieutenant Daniel College said the helicopter experienced an engine failure, and Hupp said the aircraft would not have been able to land at nearby Peter O. Knight Airport.

The helicopter landed approximately 200 yards off the shore of Davis Islands. The three other occupants were able to get to the surface without issue, while Hupp said he was caught in seatbelts and cords before freeing himself after approximately 45 seconds to a minute of being under water.

Gabbert, who has a home on Davis Islands, and other bystanders approached on jet skis and assisted in the rescue effort. The father was placed on one jet ski, while Hupp and his mother were placed on another.

“They slowly brought us back to the shore, a sandy beach near the (Davis Islands Yacht Club), and hung out for a while, were really nice,” Hupp said, per FOX Sports. “We exchanged pleasantries upon reaching flat ground. They were really an asset to helping us out, because we were the only ones out there for a while. It was a handshake and a huge and ‘Thank you so much.’ They went out for a nice afternoon ride and just happened to come upon a stranded helicopter family.”

The Tampa Police Department said in a news release it “is currently coordinating with local and federal agencies regarding the investigation and eventual recovery of the helicopter.”

Gabbert, 33, has played with the Jacksonville Jaguars, San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals, Tennessee Titans and Buccaneers during his NFL career.

–Field Level Media