American Trevor Jacob, who deliberately crashed his plane to increase the number of viewers on his YouTube channel, has been sentenced to six months in prison. That sentence is part of a deal Jacob made with prosecutors in which he pleaded guilty.
In a video titled ‘I crashed my airplane Jacob appears to experience engine problems in November 2021, while flying alone in a single-engine plane over a mountain range in southern California. The footage, which has been viewed millions of times on YouTube, shows 30-year-old Jacob, a former Olympic snowboarder, jumping from the crashing plane with a parachute and a selfie stick in hand.
Cameras mounted on the wings then capture the plane crashing into the dense vegetation of the Los Padres National Forest. Jacob also films how, after landing with his parachute, he manages to find a safe haven through a difficult walk.
In the weeks after the incident, investigators from the US aviation regulator FAA launched an investigation into the crash. Based on the video, many experts indicated that Jacob did not appear to follow the safety procedures that apply in the event of an accident and that he should have been able to land the plane safely even without an engine. Moreover, it was very exceptional, they stated, that he was in the plane wearing a parachute.
Jacob was instructed to preserve the wreckage. But he claimed he did not know where exactly his plane had crashed. That turned out to be a lie. Not long after the crash, he and a friend flew there in a helicopter to remove the wreckage. After cutting the wreckage into small pieces, they dumped it in airport trash bins in an attempt to obscure the evidence.
After extensive investigation, it turned out that Jacob had lied to investigators. It was not an engine failure accident, as he claimed in his official report on the crash, but he had deliberately caused the crash. “Jacob most likely committed this offense to generate social media and news attention for himself for financial gain,” federal prosecutors said in a statement Monday. “This kind of daredevilry cannot be tolerated.”
The video has now been removed from YouTube. But you can still watch a copy of the original on the same channel.
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