YouTuber Admits He “Intentionally” Crashed Plane For Clicks, Sponsorship Dollars: FBI
It was a mile high flub.
A California YouTuber faces a hefty prison sentence after revealing he orchestrated a plane crash in an alleged attempt to garner views for his channel.
Trevor Jacob, a 29-year-old pilot and skydiver, stuck to his unorthodox flight plan as part of a recent plea deal.
Jacob confessed that he planned to monetize the crash as part of a sponsorship deal to promote a company’s wallet on his channel, according to the US law firm.
He agreed to plead guilty to one felony of “destruction and concealment” for the purpose of obstructing a federal investigation, charges that could carry him up to 20 years in prison, the Justice Department said.
The so-called mile-high peddler’s accident occurred in November 2021 while flying over Los Padres National Forest in Santa Barbara County.
In the video, which has been viewed 3.1 million times, the Los Angeles snowboarder — whose pilot’s license was revoked by the Federal Aviation Administration in April 2022 — was seen above a mountain range holding the ashes of his friend, base jumper Johnny Strange . who passed away in 2015.
Jacob’s solo flight seemingly headed south after one of his propellers stalled, whereupon he remarked that he “had one engine off” and opened the plane door.
The high-flying faker, who has more than 118,000 YouTube subscribers, then parachuted from the moving plane and filmed his descent with a selfie stick.
Meanwhile, cameras installed in the pilotless plane provided a POV shot of the plane crashing into a mountainside.
Investigators said it happened about 35 minutes after takeoff, Storyful reported.
The second half of the video showed the alleged plane crash survivor tripping over bushes in the desert in the aftermath of his alleged crash landing.
“It’s so hot in here – I need water so badly,” complained Jacob, claiming he had no cell phone service.
The YouTuber eventually stumbled upon the wreckage of his plane and retrieved the cameras, according to the Justice Department.
It wasn’t until a little over a year later that the YouTuber’s story began to crash and burn.
The Justice Department noted that Jacob reported the crash to the National Transportation Safety Board two days after the incident.
In the weeks following the staged catastrophe, the Californian told authorities he would help them find the crashed plane, then “lied” that he knew where it was.
However, prosecutors allege that on December 10, 2021, Jacob and a friend flew a helicopter to the crash site to retrieve the wreckage.
He then destroyed the parts and disposed of them in garbage cans at Lompoc City Airport and elsewhere.
Jacob admitted in the plea deal that he threw out the plane parts to cover up the evidence of his crashquerade.
Apparently that wasn’t the flyboy’s only lie.
In the plea deal, Jacob admitted that he falsely told investigators that the plane had lost power and that he deployed the parachute because he couldn’t find a safe place to land — a claim he also repeated in the video.
That excuse was initially criticized by YouTube commentators, who said they noticed some ideal landing spots in the clip.
Viewers also noted that Jacob was wearing a parachute suit – not the typical pilot’s attire – which seemed to suggest that his ejection was premeditated.
The US Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California concluded that the YouTuber “had no intention of reaching his destination”.
They claimed that he “instead planned to jump out of his plane in flight and film himself parachuting to the ground and his plane as it descended and crashed.”
That contradicted a January 2022 statement from the airline, which insisted he didn’t deliberately crash his plane for “views on YouTube” and simply has a habit of “filming everything I do.”
According to the Ministry of Justice, Jacob will appear in court for the first time in “the coming weeks”.