Floating on the water after the helicopter he and his parents were on an excursion with made an emergency landing in the waters off the Davis Islands on Thursday night, Hunter Hupp was unaware the three men had rapidly approached. on two jet skis as he walked. country.
Hupp, 28, had spent the previous hour on the flight to the beach and back as a Christmas present, but he and the other passengers of the helicopter heard a loud noise in the side propeller. above and had to land in the water, about 200 yards away. coast.
“Let me tell you, the helicopter sank very quickly,” said Hupp on Friday morning, grateful to be woken up another morning with his parents. “We learned that pretty quickly.”
Hupp’s parents, Wes and Lisa, got out of the helicopter when it refueled, so did the pilot, but Hupp was the last to get out, unable to get out on his own for about a minute before exiting and emerging to the surface. country. The four of them were floating together, just inches above the water from the helicopter, debating whether to wait for help or try to swim inland while fully clothed, when almost immediately saw two men on jet skis approaching.
One of them, we now know, is Tampa . Bay Backup Midfielder Bucs Blaine Gabbert, lives on Davis Island and is part of the rescue effort. Hupp said they helped his father get on a jet ski and he and his mother on the other side, stayed with them and coordinated how to get more people back than the models. The water bowl is designed to carry.
“They slowly brought us back to the shore, a sandy beach near the yacht club, and hung out for a while, which was really cool,” says Hupp. “We happily exchanged when we got to the flat. They were really a valuable asset to help us, because we were the only ones there for a while. It was one. handshake and a tight hug and ‘Thank you very much’. They were hanging out one fine afternoon and came across a family of stranded helicopters.”
Tampa Police arrived in a boat within five minutes, he said, but having two jet skis there quickly meant they didn’t have too much time alone in the water, not sure if they could. How long can it float?
“We thought about all the things that could happen,” said Hupp, who lives in Philadelphia and works in sales. “What happened was obviously not good, but we managed pretty well for what happened.”
Gabbert, 33, is entering his 12th and fourth NFL seasons with the Bucs, though this season he hasn’t flashed as the top backup for brave cat. The Bucs have been busy preparing this week for Sunday’s game against Carolina, where a win could give Tampa Bay a straight second division title, but that’s not all he’s done. do on Thursday.
Hupp said he didn’t know one of his rescuers was an NFL quarterback, as they don’t exchange more than first names, but when it comes to Gabbert’s description, he says “I think that’s who mommy is. I’m clinging.”
“My mother said she hoped to see Tom Brady while we were down here,” he said. “I think she came pretty close.”
Tampa Police said a helicopter had to make an emergency landing just after 5 p.m. Thursday due to engine failure as it approached Peter O. Knight Airport, at the southern end of the Davis Islands, in Hillsborough Bay, the southern tip. northeast of Tampa Bay. The initial report from the police was that all four people on board the plane survived and agencies are working to recover the sunken helicopter from the water.
Gabbert has a home on the Davis Islands, a gated community where several professional Tampa Bay athletes, even Brady, have called home.
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Greg Auman is the NFC South correspondent for FOX Sports, covering the Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers and Saints. He’s in his 10th season joining full-time for the Bucs and NFL, having spent time with the Tampa Bay Times and The Athletic. You can follow him on Twitter at @gregauman.
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