Trevor Jacob, a 29-year-old YouTuber, will plead guilty to obstructing a federal investigation after intentionally crashing an airplane for views, according to US prosecutors. Jacob, a pilot, and skydiver, filmed a video of himself crashing a plane into the Los Padres National Forest in California in December 2021. The video has gained over 2.9 million views to date.
In a plea agreement, Jacob admitted that he filmed the video as part of a product sponsorship deal and planned to eject from the aircraft during the flight to parachute to the ground. He hiked to the site of the crash and recovered the footage, but made no attempt to land the plane safely, causing skepticism among YouTube viewers.
Following the crash, the National Transportation Safety Board asked Jacob to preserve the wreckage, but he later claimed that he did not know the location of the site. In reality, he returned by helicopter to the site and secured and removed the wreckage, which he later destroyed, according to the plea agreement.
Jacob is expected to make his initial court appearance in the coming weeks and faces up to 20 years in prison. His pilot’s license was revoked last year.
The incident highlights the potential dangers of content creation for social media platforms and the lengths some individuals may go to in order to gain views and likes. While Jacob’s case may be extreme, it is a reminder of the importance of responsible and ethical behavior on social media.