Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Blaine Gabbert was among several Good Samaritans who helped rescue four people after a helicopter made an emergency landing in waters near Davis Islands on Thursday, December 29, the Tampa Police Department said.
Police said a tour helicopter carrying a pilot and three passengers made an emergency landing in the water after the occupants heard a loud bang and the helicopter lost power.
The Tampa Police Department and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office responded and said all four victims were rescued from the water. This footage first shows the view from the police boat as officials arrived at the scene, and then shows them transporting victims to shore at Davis Islands Yacht Club.
“We’ve got a passenger coming on board … the other three are on the Jet Skis, and the helicopter is submerged right behind us,” a police officer is heard saying in the video.
On Friday, Gabbert told a press conference that he and his brothers were riding Jet Skis when they heard a “faint noise,” spotted people in the water and “raced over” to help them.
Gabbert said he took two victims onto his Jet Ski and his brothers took a third. The fourth victim, the helicopter pilot, was taken aboard a police boat, he said.
Gabbert said he and his brothers were in the “right place at the right time,” and directed praise toward local police and fire services. “The credit really goes out to Tampa PD,” Gabbert said, turning toward Tampa’s Interim Chief of Police Lee Bercaw, who joined him at the press conference. “You guys, the fire department, the sheriff’s department – because they were there in five seconds. It was pretty remarkable.” Credit: Tampa Police via Storyful
- All right, 10-4.
- I don't know where the helicopter is.
- 10-4. Go ahead and put in the divers. We need you at the boat ramp. Then we can do whatever.
- Anything from the divers?
- He's pointing at us. They're pointing at us.
- [INAUDIBLE] the diver [INAUDIBLE] need to go to the Davis Islands.
- You got [INAUDIBLE]? All right. We'll get him on the-- we'll get him on our boat.
- Just stay right there.
- It's right there. You see it?
- Look behind you.
- Oh, yeah, yeah.
- Yeah, we see it.
- You wanna tell him we-- You're the only occupant?
- 25, we got a passenger coming on board. He's 10-4. The other three are on the jet skis. And the helicopter is submerged right behind us on the south side of us.
- --for you.
- This side.
- Hey, I got it.
- Go ahead and have a seat. Are you all right?
- Yeah, yeah.
- Have a seat up front.
- Yeah, the landing was, like, [INAUDIBLE].
- The landing was-- like, the cushion was good.
- You got a buoy you want to throw out?
- The engine quit on me. Yeah, [INAUDIBLE].
- Glad you guys all got out, man.
- Thanks. Thanks a lot.
- Grab a seat. Take it easy. We'll get you back to shore with your occupants. We'll come back.
- [INAUDIBLE] All right. Right in front of the house.
- Marine 5, Any reason to have another boat?
- Any reason to have another boat? [INAUDIBLE] see coming?
- Yeah. Marine 5, They can go on another boat. We have our Sheriff's Office coming out behind us. We'll see what we need to do.
- Going to the boat ramp?
- Diver 2 marine, I'm out here with fire rescue. They're going to head to the boat ramp. Confirming you guys have the passengers on board.
- 25, 10-4. We got one passenger on board. We're 51 to the boat ramp on the southern channel side. The other occupants are on the jet skis, almost 51 or 97 at that point.
- Correct, yeah.
- Sorry. I wish I had a jacket to give you.
- No, don't worry about it.
- This is about as close as we're going to be able to get.
- What's your phone number?
- 561 [INAUDIBLE].
- We're going to have to hop you [INAUDIBLE] the water. Just hold on to the railing because we got this weight coming through.
- Yeah, we're just going to drop them right here. Thank you.
- You're about to go--
- Yeah, just hold on a second.
- Go ahead.
- I would just go reverse--
- Yeah, I am. I am.
- You're clear. Go ahead.
- Watch the bow, guys. We got to swing around. Don't have time for [INAUDIBLE]. All right, we have to mark this.
- All right, who divers are going to pick up?
- --grab your info. Real quick, you brought them back, right?
- We want to make sure we get your info so we can include you on that.
- What do you need?
- What's your first name?
- Brett. B-R-E-T-T.
- Last name?
- Gabbert-- G-A-B-B-E-R-T.
- Who was the other? Do you have his info, or--
- They're both my brothers.
- OK, so who are your brothers, then?
- Tyler Gabbert and Wayne Gabbert.
- Way to be in the right spot, man, at the right time.
- [INAUDIBLE] so--
- You just saw him in the water, or--
- [INAUDIBLE] in the water.
- [INAUDIBLE] we were going back out and we saw them in the water.
- Awesome. Thank you, guys. I got your number. We'll be in touch.
- Traffic. Traffic.
- We got the inside traffic in sight.
- [INAUDIBLE] 341. [INAUDIBLE] visual--
- The diver units need to go to the Davis Island.
- Traffic, traffic.
- And for the Marine unit, you should be able to see the router sticking up just to your left.
- Traffic, traffic.
- [INAUDIBLE] traffic. Runway 422 is temporarily closed.
- I got him off our nose.
- [INAUDIBLE] traffic at Cherokee is going [INAUDIBLE] right down [INAUDIBLE] 36, Peter. Nice.
- They're coming on board. 10-4. The other three are on the jet skis. And the helicopter is submerged right behind us on the south side of us.
- [INAUDIBLE] traffic helicopter PD4 just off the approach end of runway 4, 200 feet, [INAUDIBLE].
- If it's totally submerged, is there a buoy that you can throw in there to mark it?
- Air 1, one of the rotors is just sticking up above the surface of the water. But they will need to mark it with something.
- Driver six.
- [INAUDIBLE] traffic [INAUDIBLE] number two, left space, 36.
- Marine 5, 74 on another boat. They have the Sheriff's Office coming out behind us. We'll see what we need to do.
- Diver two, the marine units are out here with Fire Rescue. They're going to head to the boat ramp. Confirming you guys have passengers on board.
- We got one passenger on board. We're 51 to the middle ramp on the south channel.
- --stop the boat from launching.
- And closed 422. One should be staying east of us.
- --Fire Rescue. You just wait over there.
- [INAUDIBLE] traffic, I got 94 Bravo Alpha. We are three miles to the south, 360.
- Can I get one more?
- Good shot of the--