NFL quarterback Blaine Gabbert and his brothers reportedly helped to rescue a family who had crashed a helicopter into the water on Thursday, riding their jet skis out to the scene and transporting the family to safety.
Gabbert, who currently serves as the backup quarterback to future Hall of Famer Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, said that he and his brothers had been cruising around Hillsborough Bay near Tampa on Thursday when they suddenly heard a “faint noise” and rushed to investigate the source of the sound.
“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,’” the quarterback said.
When Gabbert and his brothers arrived at the scene, they discovered that a family had been forced to execute a crash water landing in a helicopter — and the helicopter had begun rapidly sinking into the water.
“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,” Gabbert said during a press conference on Friday.
Blaine Gabbert saved four people from a helicopter crash into the ocean while on jet skis in Tampa Bay. Incredible. Good for him: pic.twitter.com/xHr23j4cw3
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) December 30, 2022
The quarterback went on to say that he was able to pull two people out of the water and get them onboard his jet ski — then he rescued a third person and helped them onto his brother’s jet ski.
Local authorities, whom Gabbert credited with arriving at the scene with incredible speed, were then able to rescue a fourth family member from the crash.
Gabbert attempted to downplay his own heroism during the press conference, instead claiming that the rescue was essentially a case of being in the “right place at the right time.”
However, Tampa Police officer Dan Spears noted that the quarterback and his brothers had “actually just about completed the rescue” when police first arrived at the scene of the crash.
Spears also credited the brothers with being “very calm,” saying that they had done a “great job.”
“One of the most dangerous circumstances on an aircraft is a water landing just due to the inversion of a helicopter, and trying to escape that, and not get trapped in, so it was a very amazing circumstance that everybody got out,” the officer added.
On Friday, Tampa Police honored Gabbert for his heroism — making him an honorary member of their marine unit.
Tampa Police interim chief Lee Bercaw has made Bucs quarterback Blaine Gabbert an honorary member of their Tampa Police Marine Patrol after he and his two brothers saved four people from the water of a helicopter crash Thursday. pic.twitter.com/RLQTqa52oe
— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN) December 30, 2022
Gabbert has been on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers since 2019. He previously served as a starter for the Jacksonville Jaguars for several years.