A 29-year-old YouTuber, Trevor Jacob, has admitted to deliberately crashing a plane to get more views on the popular video-sharing platform.
He will plead guilty to obstructing a federal investigation by attempting to conceal and destroy evidence at the site of the crash, according to US prosecutors. Jacob posted a video of the plane crash to YouTube in December 2021, which has since amassed over 2.9 million views, implying it was an accident.
However, he has now acknowledged that he filmed the stunt as part of a product sponsorship deal. He could face a maximum of 20 years in prison.
In November 2021, Jacob flew solo from a Santa Barbara, California airport, carrying cameras, a parachute, and a selfie stick. Prosecutors said that he had no intention of reaching his destination, but rather planned to eject from the plane mid-flight and record himself parachuting to the ground and the airplane as it crashed.
The plane crashed into the Los Padres National Forest 35 minutes after takeoff, and Jacob hiked to the site to recover the footage. However, some YouTube viewers were suspicious of the crash, as Jacob was already wearing a parachute and did not attempt to land the plane safely.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) was responsible for investigating the crash, and they instructed Jacob to preserve the wreckage. However, the plea agreement reveals that he later claimed that he did not know the location of the crash site. He returned by helicopter and removed the wreckage, which he later destroyed, according to the statement. Jacob’s pilot’s license was revoked last year, and he is expected to make his first court appearance in the coming weeks.
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