YouTuber staged California plane crash to make sponsored video then disposed of wreckage, say authorities

Trevor Daniel Jacob filmed entire incident using GoPro cameras attached to different parts of a single-engine aircraft

Maroosha Muzaffar
Friday 12 May 2023 05:55 BST
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Trevor Jacob, a YouTuber crashed his plane for content and then disposed of the plane wreckage, US Justice Department said
Trevor Jacob, a YouTuber crashed his plane for content and then disposed of the plane wreckage, US Justice Department said (Trevor Jacob / YouTube)

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A California YouTuber deliberately crashed his plane in a mountainous area and then tried to dispose of the wreckage to generate content for his channel, the US Justice Department said on Thursday.

Trevor Daniel Jacob, an “influencer” from Lompoc in the West Coast, filmed himself parachuting to safety after crashing his plane in December 2021. Now, he has agreed to plead guilty in obstructing an investigation by destroying the crash wreckage.

Mr Jacob is expected to make a court appearance in the coming weeks.

Local media reported that the YouTuber signed a plea agreement which was filed in the US District Court in Los Angeles.

Mr Jacob, a former US Olympic snowboarder turned social media star, stirred controversy after he uploaded a YouTube video titled “I Crashed My Plane” on Christmas Eve in 2021. He filmed the entire incident using GoPro cameras attached to different parts of the single-engine aircraft and had one camera on his person as well.

He was accused of deliberately crashing his plane in California’s mountainous Los Padres National Forest to get attention on social media.

In the video, Mr Jacob can be seen parachuting out of the plane and filming the aircraft crashing into the foothills of the Los Padres National Forest.

Mr Jacob is also an experienced pilot and a skydiver. He has now 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.

The Justice Department said after landing, he hiked to the crash site and recovered video from the onboard cameras.

The Justice Department said he later informed federal investigators about the crash, was told he was responsible for preserving the wreckage, agreed to determine its location – and then lied that he did not know the location, Associated Press reported.

Mr Jacob hired a helicopter to go to the crash site to dispose of the plane wreckage, the plea agreement states.

Meanwhile, the influencer’s pilot license was revoked by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2022.

Additional reporting by agencies

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