It was two years ago when YouTuber Trevor Jacob posted a dramatic video of his solo flight that ended with the plane crashing, though not before he was able to parachute from the single-engine plane to safety. Didn’t come out.
Video of doomed California flight – Title my plane crashed – went viral and was viewed several million times.
Jacobs claimed at the time that the plane’s engine had failed over the Los Padres mountains. But the fact that he had a parachute and a selfie stick in hand suggested that the entire incident was staged, prompting investigators to take a closer look.
That led to the former Olympic snowboarder being convicted earlier this year of one felony count of destruction and concealment with intent to hinder a federal investigation. And this week he was jailed for six months.
After parachuting to safety, Jacobs rushed to the crash site to collect video footage from the plane’s onboard cameras before reporting the incident to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) a few days later.
According to the US Department of Justice, the NTSB asked Jacobs to preserve the crash site for investigation, but he lied and said he did not know where it was. But investigators said he later returned to the site and removed the debris before destroying it to avoid investigation.
While the YouTuber originally denied that the accident was part of an elaborate stunt, he later said in a plea agreement that he had set it up as part of a product sponsorship deal for a wallet company.
“Jacobs likely committed this crime to generate social media and news coverage for himself and to obtain financial gain,” federal prosecutors said Monday, “nevertheless, this type of daring conduct cannot be tolerated.”
Jacobs said in a statement that dealing with the law was “very humbling” and called the prison time “the right decision.”
YouTubers always hope for a viral hit, but few take such extreme steps to make it happen. Check out this collection of some of the currently most viewed videos on YouTube, none of which involve a plane crashing.