NFL quarterback and brothers carry out jet ski rescue of four from helicopter crash

Buccaneers-Gabbert Rescue Football
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Blaine Gabbert (11) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2022, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)

NFL quarterback and brothers carry out jet ski rescue of four from helicopter crash

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Blaine Gabbert and his brothers rode jet skis to rescue four passengers of a downed helicopter.

Gabbert is being hailed a hero for his quick actions following a helicopter crash into Hillsborough Bay in Florida. He and his brothers were enjoying their time off on their jet skis when they heard a “faint noise” south of Davis Island.

“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 got to go check this out,'” the quarterback recalled.

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The group arrived at the site of the crash to find the passengers “in duress.”

Gabbert said that “the youngest kid had just came up and said he was pinned in there, and I asked if anyone else was trapped, and then I called 911, tried to remain as calm as possible.”

“I was just right place, right time, I guess. The credit really goes out to Tampa [police], you guys, the fire department, the sheriff’s department, ’cause they were there within five seconds. It was pretty remarkable,” he said.

He said that he got two of the passengers on his jet ski while his brothers got another one. The police arrived to pick up the last survivor. All four passengers were saved, with no injuries reported.

The Tampa Bay Police Department later announced in a statement that the crash occurred when the occupants of the helicopter heard a “loud bang and the helicopter lost power.” The pilot was able to conduct an emergency landing in the water.

The department made Gabbert an honorary member of its marine unit the same day in thanks for his role in the rescue, CBS News reported.

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“We often say that we cannot do our jobs well without the community and that we are safer, together,” Interim Chief Lee Bercaw said. “Yesterday was an amazing example of how teamwork, not only in the sports world but also in our hometown, is why our area is known as Champa Bay.”

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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