Bucs QBs Blaine Gabbert (L) and Tom Brady. Bucs QBs Blaine Gabbert (L) and Tom Brady. (Photo from Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports.)

There have been plenty of stories of owning a jet ski going wrong for athletes, but Thursday evening brought a case of it going right. And that even involved a Florida Man, in a much more positive way than we often see. After a helicopter crashed in the water 200 yards from the Davis Islands neighborhood of Tampa, Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ quarterback Blaine Gabbert (seen at left above with Tom Brady during a Dec. 25 game) was one of the first on the scene to help, showing up on his jet ski.

For more details on that, Matt Cohen and Rick Stroud of The Tampa Bay Times wrote that “Among the bystanders who helped rescue the family from the water was Tampa Bay Buccaneers backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who was on a personal watercraft at the time.”

The family in question was 28-year-old Hunter Hupp, his 62-year-old father, and his 59-year-old mother, along with a 33-year-old pilot. They were finishing a helicopter tour (a Christmas gift the younger Hupp had bought for his family as part of their vacation in Tampa from Philadelphia) and set to land at the Peter O. Knight Airport on Davis Islands when something went wrong, with Tampa Police lieutenant Daniel College describing that to media as an engine failure. They made an emergency landing, and three of them got out easily. But the younger Hupp did not, as he told the Times:

As the helicopter hit the water and began to sink, Hupp said he was caught under seatbelts and cords. He said he struggled to get out as his parents and the pilot escaped and made their way to the surface.

“I would have liked to be the third out,” Hupp joked.

Hupp said he began to give up, but he thought of his parents floating above him. He said he thought of what they would go through if he drowned, so he made one more attempt to get out of the helicopter.

Finally, he freed himself. Hupp estimates he was underneath the water for between 45 seconds and a minute.

That’s quite the harrowing escape for Hupp. And it’s good that Gabbert and other bystanders were there to help quickly. As for Hupp, he told the Times his family doesn’t plan to try helicopters again. And he canceled his dinner reservation to instead get takeout sushi and “drink all the bourbon.”

[The Tampa Bay Times; photo from Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.