Trevor Daniel Jacob, a 29-year-old YouTuber, will plead guilty to a criminal felony after destroying the wreckage of a plane he purposely crashed in order to garner views, according to Justice Department authorities.
Trevor Daniel Jacob told investigators in a video he made to promote a wallet that he intended to crash his jet. According to a news release from the US Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, he later removed the aircraft’s wreckage and disposed of it to obstruct federal officials from investigating the crash site.
According to the announcement, Jacob, a pilot and skydiver, agreed to plead guilty to one count of destruction and concealment with the purpose to hinder a federal investigation. CNN has contacted Jacob’s attorney for comment.
The flight occurred on November 24, 2021. Jacob took off from Lompoc City Airport in Santa Barbara County, but he never meant to land, according to his plea bargain. He “planned to eject from his aircraft during the flight and video himself parachuting to the ground and his airplane as it descended and crashed,” according to the report.
According to the announcement, Jacob installed many cameras around the plane and brought a parachute, video camera, and selfie stick with him.
“Approximately 35 minutes after taking off, while flying above the Los Padres National Forest near Santa Maria, Jacob ejected from the airplane and videoed himself parachuting to the ground,” it added.
According to the statement, after parachuting to the ground and recording the collision, he hiked to the debris and took the video footage with him.
Two days later, the YouTuber reported the collision to the National Transportation Safety Board and consented to divulge the location of the wreck. Instead, he told police he didn’t know where the accident site was, then flew there with a companion, loaded up the wreckage, and subsequently destroyed it, according to the release, which references the plea bargain.
A month after the incident, he posted a video on YouTube titled “I Crashed My Airplane,” which depicted the crash and Jacob parachuting from the plane.
Some viewers were skeptical of the act, pointing out that Jacob was already wearing a parachute, made no attempt to glide the plane to a safe landing spot, and carried his camera and selfie stick with him when he ditched the plane.
“Jacob admitted in his plea agreement that he intended to make money through the video,” the release added.
He also admitted to lying to federal investigators after submitting an aircraft accident incident report and falsely claimed the plane fully lost power roughly half an hour after takeoff, the news release said.
“Jacob also lied to (a Federal Aviation Administration) aviation safety inspector when he said the airplane’s engine had quit and, because he could not identify any safe landing options, he had parachuted out of the plane,” it added.
The FAA revoked Jacob’s pilot license last year, according to the release.
Jacob is expected to appear in court in the coming weeks.