YouTuber Trevor Jacob has been sentenced to six months in prison for destroying the wreckage of his airplane after he intentionally crashed it in Santa Barbara, California, to gain YouTube views.
Jacob, 30, pleaded guilty in June to destruction and concealment with the intent to obstruct a federal investigation.
In November 2021, Jacob took a solo flight in his small aircraft, which had several cameras mounted on it. About 35 minutes into the flight, Jacob jumped out of the plane ― allegedly because it had suffered a mechanical failure ― and took a video of himself parachuting to the ground.
Jacob’s selfie stick and the cameras on the plane recorded the plane’s crash into Los Padres National Forest. Two days later, Jacob told the National Transportation Safety Board about the crash, and the board launched an investigation. Jacob falsely told investigators he didn’t know where the wreckage was. On Dec. 10, 2021, he and a friend used a helicopter to surreptitiously lift the wreckage out of the park, later destroying and disposing of it.
“It appears that [Jacob] exercised exceptionally poor judgment in committing this offense,” prosecutors argued in a sentencing memorandum, according to a news release. “[Jacob] most likely committed this offense to generate social media and news coverage for himself and to obtain financial gain. Nevertheless, this type of ‘daredevil’ conduct cannot be tolerated.”
The YouTube video titled “I Crashed My Airplane” was uploaded at the end of December 2021 and included a sponsorship deal from a company that sells wallets. The video has since been set to private, but in May, it had more than 3 million views.
Jacob lied to investigators, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Central District of California, when he said that the plane experienced a full loss of power and that the engine had quit.