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12th May 2023

YouTuber admits to crashing plane for clicks

Jack Peat

He could face up to 20 years in prison

A YouTuber has confessed to crashing a plane in a bid to drive viewer numbers on his channel.

Trevor Jacob, 29, posted the video of the plane crash to YouTube in December 2021, implying it was an accident.

It has over 2.9 million views to date.

But it has since been revealed to have been a hoax after a federal investigation, with Jacob reportedly set to plead guilty to one felony count of destruction and concealment with the intent to obstruct a federal investigation, the US justice department said in a statement on Thursday.

In November 2021, Jacob left a Santa Barbara, California airport on a solo flight with cameras mounted on his plane. Along with the cameras, Jacob took a parachute with him, as well as a selfie stick.

According to the US Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, he “did not intend to reach his destination, but instead planned to eject from his aircraft during the flight and video himself parachuting to the ground and his airplane as it descended and crashed”.

After 35 minutes in the air, the plane went into freefall and crashed into the Los Padres National Forest, which lies northeast of Santa Barbara.

Several viewers expressed a degree of skepticism over the crash, noting that Jacob was already wearing a parachute and made no attempt to land the plane safely.

He reported the crash to the National Transportation Safety Board, who said he was responsible for preserving the wreckage. According to the plea agreement, Jacob later claimed he did not know the location of the site.

He did, and returned by helicopter and secured and removed the wreckage, which he later destroyed, the statement says.

Jacob is expected to make his initial court appearance in the coming weeks.

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