Daredevil YouTuber Who Crashed A Cessna Sentenced to Six Months Imprisonment

A reckless YouTuber, who intentionally caused his plane to crash in an attempt to increase his channel's viewership and then deceived investigators about it, has been sentenced to six months in prison after agreeing to a plea deal, according to US officials on Monday (Dec 4). In a video titled "I crashed my airplane," Trevor Jacob seems to have encountered engine problems while flying over southern California in November 2021. 


The intense video, which has been watched millions of times on YouTube, depicts Jacob, now 30, ejecting from the single-engine plane with a selfie stick in his hand and parachuting into the thick foliage of Los Padres National Forest. Cameras installed throughout the aircraft capture its uncontrolled descent into the forest and its eventual crash landing. Jacob, a former Olympic snowboarder, records himself hiking to the wreckage where he appears disappointed to find that the water he packed is missing. However, he manages to retrieve the footage from the cameras. He then documents what appears to be a strenuous journey through the undergrowth to reach safety. 


In the weeks following the incident, the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) initiated an investigation into the crash, and Jacob was instructed to preserve the wreckage. The YouTuber informed officials that he was unaware of the plane's crash location. "In reality, on Dec 10, 2021, Jacob and a friend flew to the wreckage site by helicopter," stated the US District Attorney's Office for the Central District of California on Monday. "At the site, Jacob used straps to secure the wreckage, which the helicopter lifted and transported to Rancho Sisquoc in Santa Barbara County, where it was loaded onto a trailer attached to Jacob's pickup truck." The remains of the single-engine plane were chopped into small pieces and discarded in trash bins around Lompoc City Airport, in an attempt to conceal evidence of the crash. The FAA, the organization that regulates aviation in the United States, revoked Jacob's pilot's license in April 2022. 


When investigators closed in, Jacob negotiated a deal and agreed to plead guilty to one count of destruction and concealment with the intention to obstruct a federal investigation. "Jacob lied to federal investigators when he submitted an aircraft accident incident report that falsely indicated that the aircraft experienced a full loss of power," the US District Attorney's Office stated. "Jacob likely committed this offense to generate social media and news coverage for himself and to obtain financial gain," said federal prosecutors. "However, this kind of 'daredevil' behavior cannot be tolerated." Jacob's original video, along with several others he posted after the adventure, has now been removed from YouTube. Pilots and aviation experts have been highly critical of Jacob in the nearly two years since the video was first published. Many noted that Jacob failed to take basic steps to restart his plane's seemingly troubled engine. Others pointed out that he could have easily glided the plane to a safe landing spot, and that wearing a parachute while flying a small aircraft was highly unusual.

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