NFC South Reporter
Hunter Hap was floating within the open waters after a helicopter on a tour together with his mother and father made an emergency touchdown off the coast of the Davis Islands on Thursday evening when three males rushed towards him on two jet skis. I did not know who it was. water.
Hap, 28, had spent the earlier hour flying to the seaside and again as a Christmas current, when he and different passengers on the helicopter heard a loud bang from the rotors above, breaking the water. needed to land about 200 yards from the coast.
“Let me inform you, helicopters sink in a short time,” Hap mentioned Friday morning, grateful that he was in a position to get up together with his mother and father. I used to be scared.”
Hap’s mother and father Wes and Lisa, in addition to the pilot, escaped from the helicopter when it was submerged in water, however Hap was the final to flee and managed to free herself for a couple of minute earlier than surfacing. The 4 of them floated collectively, solely inches above the water within the helicopter, questioning whether or not to attend for assist or attempt to swim and land totally clothed, once they have been quickly jettisoned. I noticed two males on skis approaching.
One in every of them, as confirmed by sources near the Buccaneers, was Tampa Bay backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who lives on Davis Island and was a part of the rescue effort. A person helped his father on one jet ski and he and his mom on the opposite.
“They slowly took us again to the shore and took us to a sandy seaside close to the yacht membership to hang around for some time. It was very nice,” Hap mentioned. “As soon as we obtained to the flat, we exchanged greetings. We have been the one ones there for some time, in order that they have been actually an asset to assist us. It was a handshake and an enormous thanks.” They went out for a enjoyable afternoon drive and occurred to return throughout a household in a stranded helicopter.”
Picture credit score: Hunter Happ
The Tampa Police arrived by boat inside 5 minutes, however there have been two jet skis there, so I spent much less time alone within the water.
“We consider all of the assumptions,” mentioned Happ, who lives and works in gross sales in Philadelphia. “What occurred was clearly not nice, however we dealt with it fairly nicely.”
Gabbert, 33, is in his twelfth season within the NFL and fourth with the Bucks, however hasn’t performed a snap this season as Tom Brady’s prime backup. A win may give Tampa Bay a second straight title, however that wasn’t the one factor Gabbert had on Thursday.
Happ mentioned he did not know one in every of his rescuers was an NFL quarterback as a result of they solely exchanged first names, however of Gabbert’s description, he mentioned, “I believe it is the one which my mom was clinging to.” rice subject.
“My mom mentioned she wished to fulfill Tom Brady whereas we have been right here. ‘I believe she obtained fairly shut.’
Tampa Police mentioned an engine failure had pressured the helicopter to make an emergency touchdown simply after 5 p.m. mentioned there wasn’t. Preliminary stories from the police have been solely that every one 4 folks aboard survived and companies have been working to take away the submerged helicopter from the water.
Gabbert has a house within the Davis Islands, a neighborhood that a number of Tampa Bay skilled athletes, together with Brady, have known as dwelling.
FOX Sports activities High Tales:
Greg Auman is FOX Sports activities’ NFC South reporter overlaying the Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers and Saints. He entered his tenth season overlaying the NFL full-time with the Bucks, Tampa Bay he spent with The Occasions and The Athletic. You possibly can comply with him on Twitter. @gregauman.
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