YouTuber pilot Trevor Jacob has admitted to intentionally crashing a plane to earn viewership, according to the Justice Department.
The Justice Department said he signed a channel sponsorship deal to promote the wallet in his videos.
Jacob also confessed to trying to salvage and dismantle the plane’s wreckage in an attempt to cover up the crash.
The Justice Department has announced that a YouTuber who wrecked a plane in California has admitted to orchestrating the crash to get more views.
Former Olympic snowboarder Trevor Jacob (29) Filmed myself jumping out of a single propeller plane Over the Los Padres National Forest in November 2021.
He then uploaded a video titled “The plane has crashed.” His YouTube channel has approximately 137,000 subscribers.
Jacob has now pleaded guilty to sabotage and cover-up charges for obstructing federal investigations, and faces up to 20 years in federal prison. The Justice Department said in a statement Thursday:
The statement said Jacob admitted to authorities that he wanted to make money from the video of the accident and that he had reached a sponsorship deal to promote the wallet on his channel.
He also admitted to falsifying an accident report filed after the accident and lying to investigators, according to the Justice Department.
The Justice Department added that Jacob is expected to appear in court “in the next few weeks.”
How Jacob orchestrated the accident and then tried to cover it up
The YouTuber’s 12-minute video, which has 2.97 million views, shows him taking off from Lompoc City Airport and heading to Mammoth Lakes. Flying over the mountains, Jacob holds up a plastic bag containing the remains of his friend, BASE jumper Johnny Strange, who died in 2015.
The video then shows Jacob’s plane’s propeller slowing to a stop. The influencer’s pilot repeatedly cursed “the engine died” before opening the plane’s door. He jumped with a parachute and filmed the descent with a selfie stick.
A camera mounted on the drone shows the plane flying toward the mountainside.
After landing, Jacob told the camera he had no cell phone coverage and continued the hike for several hours.
“I’m exhausted. I’m thirsty. I’m scared. I’m in trouble. I’m being cut here and there,” Jacob says during the trek. “The only option left for me is to crawl through this bush like I did the last five hours.”
The video also shows him discovering the wreckage of the plane.
The Justice Department noted that Jacob returned to the plane to obtain footage of the crash.
Weeks after the crash, Jacob told investigators he would help find the wreckage, but later said he didn’t know its location, according to the agency.
In reality, he and a friend took a helicopter to the wreckage site and took the plane to a hangar at Lompoc City Airport, officials said. The Justice Department said Jacob then dismantled the plane and threw the parts in the trash.
Jacob’s video Initially met with skepticism from other aviation YouTubers, realizing that he had already unlocked the plane’s doors before the engine allegedly failed. They also flew with Jacob wearing a skydiving parachute, which small plane pilots don’t normally wear, and made a safe landing, even though satellite imagery showed several ideal locations nearby. I suspected that I hadn’t looked for the place.
The FAA revoked Jacob’s pilot license in April 2022 amid an investigation into Jacob’s crash.
Jacob’s confession contradicts his January statement New York Times. “I am happy to say that I didn’t intentionally crash the plane to see it on YouTube,” he told the outlet, adding that he has a habit of “filming everything he does.”
His attorney, Kelly Axel, did not immediately respond to an insider’s request for comment sent outside of normal business hours.
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