According to US officials, a YouTuber pilot who intentionally crashed his plane into the ground while midair to increase the number of viewers on his channel could face up to 20 years in prison.
Trevor Jacob appears to have engine issues while flying over southern California in November 2021 in a video with the title “I crashed my aero plane,” which has been viewed by almost three million people.
With a selfie stick in hand, 29-year-old Jacob is seen in the dramatic video jumping out of the single-engine plane and landing in the deep forest of the Los Padres National Forest.
The aircraft’s uncontrolled fall into the forest and final crash landing are captured on cameras positioned all over it.
In a video of himself travelling to the ruins, Jacob can be seen being shocked to see that the water he packed had vanished.
As he appears to struggle to locate civilization, viewers can see him bushwhacking through poison oak and over hills while providing frequent updates on how thirsty and bewildered he feels.
Finally, as darkness sets, he finds a truck and what appears to be salvation after pausing to get water from a stream.
Jacob was instructed to preserve the debris as the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) conducted an investigation into the tragedy in the weeks that followed.
The YouTuber claimed to the authorities that he did not know where the plane had crashed, but according to a plea agreement filed in Los Angeles, two weeks after the incident, he and a friend used a helicopter to hoist the wreckage out of the jungle after recovering data from the onboard cameras.