Skip to main content

Buccaneers QB Blaine Gabbert helped rescue family following emergency helicopter water landing

Blaine Gabbert spends every week preparing to answer the call at a moment's notice on the football field, so it shouldn't be surprising to hear he did the same when a family found itself in aquatic peril on Thursday.

Gabbert was part of a rescue effort that pulled four people from the Hillsborough Bay waters following an emergency helicopter landing and helped them to safety on the shore.

Gabbert, who lives on Davis Island in Tampa, Fla., was cruising the bay on jet skis with his brothers when he heard a concerning noise out on the water and saw signs of a potential problem. He quickly rode over to investigate and found the Hupp family -- 28-year-old Hunter and his parents, Wes and Lisa -- and the pilot in the water next to a helicopter that was almost fully submerged.

Gabbert dialed 9-1-1 and began determining how to pull the four from the water and onto their jet skis.

"I was just right place, right time, I guess," Gabbert said on Friday. "I got two on my jet ski, my brothers got one. The pilot was still in the water, and that was when you guys (Tampa police and fire departments) pulled up and I dragged him a little bit towards the boat and he got on. Luckily we were probably 250 meters from the beach, so we got them to the beach. The fire department, everybody was there, and the rest is history.

"It wasn't me, it was just my brothers and I out having fun. Credit goes to these guys (Tampa first responders), because if they weren't there in the nick of time, it could have turned out bad."

Thanks to the assistance of the 33-year-old Buccaneers quarterback, all four members of the flight -- which was forced to make the emergency landing roughly 200 yards from shore due to engine failure, per Fox Sports -- were saved from a much worse outcome.

Gabbert hasn't played a snap in 2022 while serving as Tom Brady's backup, but as he proved with his act of heroism Thursday, he's ready and willing to help whenever needed on the football field or elsewhere. His head coach, Todd Bowles, commended him on Friday.

"I think it's outstanding," Bowles said. "I think anytime you can find a guy (who'll) drop everything and go help someone else that he doesn't even know without thinking about it. And take their life into their own hands, and help somebody else save their life. That says a lot about the guy."

Related Content