The YouTuber who crashed a plane in the mountains of California did it because of an endorsement deal, authorities say

A YouTuber whose single-engine plane crashed in a California national forest has admitted he shot down the plane to increase views of an endorsement deal, authorities said Thursday.

Trevor Jacob, 29, made the admission in a plea agreement filed in Los Angeles federal court.

Jacob pleaded guilty to one count of destruction and concealment with intent to obstruct a federal investigation, a crime that carries a maximum penalty of 20 years behind bars, the Central California US Attorney’s office said in a news release.

Jacob posted the video behind the accusation, “I Crashed My Plane,” on Dec. 23, 2021. As of Thursday, the nearly 13-minute clip had 2.9 million views.

The video shows Jacob, described in the plea agreement as an experienced pilot and skydiver, taking off from Lompoc City Airport in a Taylorcraft BL-65 nearly a month before he posted the video online.

About a minute into the video, as Jacob flies over the Los Padres National Forest, a camera mounted on the plane shows the propeller appearing to stop working. Cameras capture Jacob jumping out of the plane and opening a parachute as the plane crashes into the mountains.

In a statement to The New York Times after the crash, Jacob said: “I will happily say that I did not crash my plane on purpose to get YouTube views.”

According to the agreement, Jacob intended to use the video for an endorsement deal with an unnamed company that made wallets.

“The defendant intended to make money by promoting the wallet in the video which would show, among other things, the defendant parachuting from the plane and the plane descending and crashing,” the document says.

In an email to a Federal Aviation Administration investigator about a month after the crash, Jacob lied about not knowing where the plane’s wreckage was, according to the agreement. Weeks earlier, he had used a helicopter company based in Paso Robles, about 120 miles north of the Los Padres, to lift the debris off the mountains and put it on a trailer, the agreement says.

Jacob admitted to taking the wreckage to the aircraft hangar he used in Lompoc, cutting it up and dumping it, the agreement says.

Jacob also falsely told the agency that he had experienced a total loss of power 35 minutes after takeoff and had parachuted from the plane because he could not identify a safe landing option, the agreement says.

Jacob did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday. His attorney, Keri Axel, declined to comment.

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