YouTuber who staged airplane crash will plead guilty to obstructing probe, prosecutors say

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (AP) - An influencer who faked a plane crash in California to create a YouTube video showing him parachuting into safety has pleaded guilty to obstructing an investigation by destroying wreckage. The U.S. Justice Department announced this Thursday.

The plea agreement, signed by Trevor Daniel Jacob of Lompoc in California and his lawyer, was filed in U.S. District Court Los Angeles on Wednesday. In a press release, the U.S. Attorney's Office said that Jacob will be expected to appear in court in the coming weeks.

Jacob, a pilot and skydiver with experience, agreed to plead to one count, destruction and concealment, with the intent of obstructing a federal investigation. This is punishable by 20 years in jail.

The video is titled

I Crashed My Airplane

In December 2021, a video appeared that purportedly showed Jacob's plane having engine failure in the mountains of Los Padres National Forest. He jumped out of the plane with a selfie-stick camera and a parachute already on.

The cameras on the plane's wings and tail, as well as the camera that he was carrying, recorded his jump and the aircraft’s descent. The government reported that after landing, he hiked up to the crash scene and recovered the video from the cameras onboard.

According to Jacob's plea agreement, he had a sponsorship contract to promote a product of a company in a video that he would upload, and never intended to finish the flight on Nov. 24, 2021.

Jacob told federal investigators of the crash later, and was then given the responsibility to preserve the wreckage. He agreed to find its location, but then lied, saying he didn't know.

According to the agreement, Jacob and his friend traveled to the site on Dec. 10, 2021 in a helicopter. The wreckage was lifted and flown to a trailer that was attached to Jacob's pickup truck. The plane was cut up and the pieces were thrown away in garbage bins.

Jacob's license as a pilot was revoked in 2022 by the Federal Aviation Administration.