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YouTuber Trevor Jacob jailed after crashing plane and skydiving to safety for video views 'and financial gain'
5 December 2023, 09:05
A YouTuber who bailed out of a plane mid-air and letting the aircraft crash to the ground for a viral video has been sentenced to six months in prison.
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Trevor Daniel Jacob, 30, an experienced pilot and skydiver, pleaded guilty in June to one count of destruction and concealment with the intent to obstruct a federal investigation.
The video, titled: "I Crashed My Airplane", appeared in December 2021 and purported to show Jacob's small plane suffering engine failure over the mountainous Los Padres National Forest in Santa Barbara County.
The clip was viewed millions of times before it was removed.
He "most likely committed this offence to generate social media and news coverage for himself and to obtain financial gain", federal prosecutors in California said.
"Nevertheless, this type of 'daredevil' conduct cannot be tolerated," they added.
In a statement, Jacob said that "this experience has been so humbling" and described the sentence as the "right decision".
Already wearing a parachute, he jumped out with a selfie stick camera in hand.
His jump and the aircraft's plunge were recorded by cameras mounted on the plane's wing and tail and by the camera he carried.
After landing, he hiked to the crash site and recovered video from the onboard cameras, the government said.
According to the plea agreement, Jacob had a sponsorship deal to promote a company's product in a video he would post, and he never intended to complete the flight on November 24 2021.
The justice department said Jacob later informed federal investigators about the crash, was told he was responsible for preserving the wreckage, agreed to determine its location - and then lied that he did not know the location.
On December 10 2021, Jacob and a friend flew to the site in a helicopter that was used to lift the wreckage and fly it to a trailer attached to his pickup truck, according to the agreement. The plane was later cut up, and the parts were disposed of in bins.
Jacob, of Lompoc, California, had his pilot licence revoked by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2022.