Just after 5 p.m. yesterday, a helicopter, carrying a pilot & three passengers, was on the approach to land at Peter O. Knight Airport following a tour.
The pilot and the passengers reportedly heard a loud bang and the helicopter lost power. The pilot conducted an emergency landing into the water near the Davis Islands Yacht Club, with all occupants ending up in the water.
The Tampa Police Department worked successfully with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office to rescue the four aboard the helicopter. Good Samaritans, who pulled up passengers onto their vessels, included Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, Blaine Gabbert.
“We often say that we cannot do our jobs well without the community and that we are safer, together,” said Interim Chief Lee Bercaw. “Yesterday was an amazing example of how teamwork, not only in the sports world but also in our hometown, is why our area is known as Champa Bay.”