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'Daredevil' YouTuber jailed for 6 months for obstruction over deliberate plane crash

Dec. 5 (UPI) -- A pilot and former Olympic snowboarder was sentenced to six months in prison for obstructing justice by destroying the wreckage of an airplane he purposely crashed in southern California in order to get more views for his YouTube channel.

Trevor Daniel Jacob, 30, of Lompoc, Calif., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge John F. Walter on Monday after pleading guilty in June to one count of "destruction and concealment with the intent to obstruct a federal investigation," the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California said in a news release.

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In November 2021, the experienced pilot, skydiver and former Olympic athlete filmed himself taking a 110-mile solo flight from Lompoc City to Mammoth Lakes but ejected over Los Padres National Forest near Santa Maria, for the express purpose of videoing his vintage plane crashing into the forest and himself parachuting to the ground.

Jacob then hiked to the location of the wreck to recover video of him bailing out and the crash from cameras mounted on the aircraft.

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After reporting the crash to the National Transportation Safety Board, Jacobs was told he was responsible for preserving the wreckage until investigators could get to the scene and agreed to provide them with the coordinates of the downed plane and videos of the crash.

Jacob falsely claimed in his aircraft incident report that the aircraft experienced a full loss of power and lied to an FAA aviation safety inspector claiming he parachuted because he could not identify anywhere to put the aircraft down safely, the U.S. Attorney's office said.

He then ceased cooperating completely and after claiming he did not know where the wreck was, returned to the crash site by helicopter and removed, dismembered and disposed of the aircraft to prevent federal authorities from getting to the bottom of the incident.

A month after the crash, Jacob uploaded a video to YouTube entitled "I Crashed My Airplane" that promoted a wallet made by one of his sponsors and showed him ejecting and the aircraft crashing into the forest, in anticipation of monetizing the incident.

The video went viral and has been viewed millions of times. Jacobs who previously denied intentionally crashing the aircraft was stripped of his pilot's license by the Federal Aviation Administration in April 2022 after an investigation concluded he had leapt from the aircraft solely to record the footage of the crash.

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"It appears that Jacob exercised exceptionally poor judgment in committing this offense," prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum.

"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."

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