YouTuber and Olympic snowboarder Trevor Jacob is coming clean and admitting he intentionally crashed a plan in order “to gain online views.”
For those who don’t know, an investigation was launched by the Federal Aviation Administration on suspicions that the 29-year-old crashed a plane on purpose for attention on social media. Jacob posted a video titled “I Crashed My Airplane” on YouTube in December 2021 that showed him flying a single-engine aircraft toward Mammoth Lakes in California. However, the trip soon took a turn when one of the engines began to fail, and the propellers stopped spinning.
Jacob immediately opened the side door and jumped out of the plane with a parachute. While falling to the ground, he took out a selfie stick to record his and the plane’s descent. The plane eventually crashed into the mountains. Meanwhile, Jacob landed somewhere on the ground. He said in the video:
“I guess I should probably document what’s going on … I’m just so happy to be alive. I’m just kind of taking in what just happened. Where the hell am I gonna land a freakin plane? I’m gonna die. That’s why I always freakin’ fly with a parachute.”
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The social media influencer then proceeded to hike several hours through the woods to look for help since he had no phone service or water. At one point, he stumbled across the plane wreckage and showed the damage on camera. He expressed at the time:
“I am exhausted. I’m so thirsty. I’m scared, I’m in trouble, I’m cut all over the place. The only option I have is crawling through these bushes like I have been for the last five hours. And, uh, I’m in pain, man. I’m hurting. Whatever I’m going through, I wish upon nobody.”
Eventually, Jacob found a road and a Good Samaritan in a car. You can see the entire video (below):
Such a scary situation. However, it turns out that the athlete crashed the plane for clout! When the video became viral, experts were immediately skeptical and doubted this was an accident. Why is that? Many people pointed out that there were multiple camera angles in the video, he was wearing a parachute while flying the plane, and the door was unlocked when he jumped. There was so much speculation about the incident that the FAA launched an investigation.
And it turns out everyone was right to be skeptical! Then, the administration determined in April of 2022 that he intentionally crashed the plane and revoked his pilot license. Jacob previously told the New York Times he would “happily say I did not purposely crash my plane for views on YouTube.” Well, he seems to have changed his tune now!
According to a press release from the Department of Justice on Thursday, Jacob agreed to plead guilty to a felony charge “for obstructing a federal investigation by deliberately destroying the wreckage of an airplane that he intentionally crashed in Santa Barbara County to gain online views.” Whoa! For the plea deal, the internet personality pleaded guilty to one count of destruction and concealment with the intent to obstruct a federal investigation – which carries a maximum 20-year sentence, per the DOJ. Wow…
As for what really happened? The plea agreement stated that Jacob obtained a sponsorship from a wallet company and agreed to promote a product in a video posted to YouTube. He admitted that he “intended to make money through the video.” Rather than making sure to reach his destination after taking flight, the athlete said he “instead planned to eject from his aircraft” and film what happened next.
When Jacob reported the crash, he then claimed he recovered the footage from the plane wreckage and agreed to cooperate with the National Transportation Safety Board. But he never provided the coordinates to the NTSB – and instead “lied to investigators that he did not know the wreckage’s location.”
Jacob ended up flying with a friend in a helicopter over the area to find the crash site. When the pair located it, they used straps to “secure the wreckage,” and lifted it via the helicopter to a nearby airport. He then “cut up and destroyed” the plane before scattering the pieces into various trash bins to try and “obstruct federal authorities from investigating the November 24 plane crash.”
And there’s more! Per the plea agreement, Jacob confessed that he “lied to federal investigators when he submitted an aircraft accident incident report that falsely indicated that the aircraft experienced a full loss of power approximately 35 minutes after takeoff.” He also wasn’t honest to the FAA that the plane’s engine failed, and he needed to parachute out since there wasn’t a safe place to land.
This is pretty f**ked up! Jacob will now appear in court in the next coming weeks. We’ll have to see what punishment is dished out for this situation. Reactions, Perezcious readers? Let us know in the comments below.
[Image via Trevor Jacob/YouTube]