Buccaneers quarterback Blaine Gabbert was part of an open-water rescue effort Thursday off the coast of Tampa Bay, Florida thanks to some fortunate timing and a jet ski.
According to Tampa Bay Times, an engine failure forced a helicopter needed to make an emergency landing on the water 200 yards off of the Davis Islands as it finished up a tour, leaving the pilot and a family of three in a precarious position.
According to FOX Sports’ Greg Auman, the passengers found themselves on a quickly sinking helicopter as they contemplated swimming to shore when they saw two men approaching on jet skis.
One of them was reportedly Gabbert, who lives on Davis Island.
“They slowly brought us back to the shore, a sandy beach near the yacht club, and hung out for a while, were really nice,” passenger Hunter Hupp said to 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.”
Tampa Bay police arrived shortly after and confirmed that all four occupants of the helicopter safely reached the shore.
The 33-year-old Gabbert is in his 12th NFL season and currently serves as the backup for former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
We’ll get more details today, but Bucs quarterback Blaine Gabbert was one of the first to respond on his jet ski Thursday evening when a helicopter went into the water off Davis Islands. All four aboard survived, with Gabbert’s help. https://t.co/DkWVPe9XNc— Greg Auman (@gregauman) December 30, 2022
The No. 10 overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft, Gabbert started his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars before bouncing around the league as a backup. He’s now in his third season in Tampa Bay, where he won a Super Bowl in 2020.
After an eventful ride Thursday, Gabbert is set to be back at practice Friday, where he’s expected to talk to reporters about the incident.
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