YouTuber pilot who deliberately crashed his light aircraft for clicks faces up to 20 years in jail

14-05-2023 11:14 AM

Ammon News - A YouTube daredevil who deliberately crashed his plane to boost his viewing figures could be jailed for 20 years after he admitted to obstructing a federal investigation by destroying the wreckage.

Trevor Jacob, 29, a former Olympic snowboarder, posted a 13-minute-long video in which he appears to experience engine trouble while flying over southern California in November 2021.

The dramatic footage, viewed nearly three million times, shows Jacob ejecting from the single-engine plane - selfie stick in hand - and parachuting into the dense vegetation of the Los Padres National Forest.

His jump and the aircraft's plunge were recorded by cameras mounted on the plane's wing and tail and by the camera he carried. After landing, he hiked to the crash site and recovered video from the onboard cameras.

Jacob had claimed he accidentally crashed the plane, but in a plea agreement filed in the US District Court in Los Angeles, he has admitted orchestrating the crash as part of a sponsorship deal.

Jacob, an experienced pilot and skydiver, agreed to plead guilty to one count of destruction and concealment with the intent to obstruct a federal investigation, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

According to the plea agreement, Jacob had a sponsorship deal to promote a company's product in a video he would post, and he never intended to complete the Nov. 24, 2021, flight.

In the video, Jacob films himself parachuting out of the plane and later hiking to the wreckage where he appears dismayed to discover the water he packed has disappeared.

Viewers see him bush-whacking through poison oak and over hills as he seemingly struggles to find civilization, giving regular updates about how thirsty he is, and how lost he feels.

Finally he stops to scoop water from a stream, and moments later comes across a vehicle and apparent salvation as night falls.

In the weeks after the incident, investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) launched a probe into the crash, and Jacob was ordered to preserve the wreckage.

The YouTuber told officials he did not know where the plane had gone down, but, according to a plea deal lodged in Los Angeles, two weeks after the drama he and a friend winched the wreckage out of the forest with a helicopter, having earlier recovered data from the onboard cameras.

Over the next few days, he cut up the plane into small pieces, and dumped the parts in trash bins in and around Lompoc City Airport.

Daily mail

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