Buccaneers Quarterback Blaine Gabbert Helps Rescue 4 People From Helicopter Crash

"I was at the right place at the right time, I guess."

Blaine Gabbert

Cooper Neill/Getty Images

A fun day on the water ended with a life-saving mission for Tampa Bay Buccaneers backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert last week. 

Gabbert was jet-skiing in Tampa’s Hillsborough Bay with his brothers on Thursday when he heard “a faint noise” nearby.

"I just remember looking to the West and seeing it almost looked like a crew boat in the water that had broken up in about four pieces, and I vaguely remember seeing like two yellow life jackets, so I was like, 'All right we gotta go check this out,'" he said at a news conference.

Gabbert and his brothers quickly discovered that it wasn’t a crew boat, but the remains of a helicopter which had crashed into the bay. The pilot and all three passengers were submerged in the water just off Davies Island. 

The football player said he called 911 and pulled two of the victims to safety on his jet ski, while one of his brothers helped a third. First responders were able to save the pilot. 

Fox Sports identified the people on the helicopter as 28-year-old Hunter Hupp, his parents Wes and Lisa, and the pilot.

"Let me tell you, helicopters sink really fast," Hupp told the network Friday morning. "We learned that rather quickly."

According to the Tampa Police Department, the pilot and three passengers were on a helicopter tour of the area when they heard a loud bang and the helicopter lost power, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing into the water.

Tampa Bay police Officer Dan Spears told CBS News that Gabbert and his brothers "had actually just about completed the rescue" when he arrived. The pilot and passengers all survived and did not suffer any injuries.

"I honestly wanted to stay anonymous," Gabbert said. "I just thought I was doing the right thing at the right time. I'm not much of a guy to be in the limelight. Just kind of want to stay under the radar. But I just said, 'Thankfully, you guys are OK, and glad I was there.'

"I was at the right place at the right time, I guess,” he continued. “The credit really goes out to Tampa PD—you guys, the fire department, the sheriff's department, because they were there within five seconds. It was pretty remarkable."

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles