Olympic snowboarder sentenced for intentional plane crash stunt

Written by Jeppe W

Dec.05 - 2023 12:21 PM CET

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com

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Trevor Daniel Jacob, an Olympic snowboarder and experienced pilot, was sentenced to six months in federal prison for obstruction of justice.

This sentence comes after he pleaded guilty to one count of “destruction and concealment with the intent to obstruct a federal investigation.” Jacob’s conviction is connected to an intentional plane crash stunt he orchestrated for his YouTube channel, which has led to severe legal consequences.

On November 24, 2021, Jacob planned a solo flight from Lompoc City Airport to Mammoth Lakes, during which he intended to eject himself from the plane and parachute to the ground, recording the entire ordeal.

Investigators discovered that Jacob never planned to complete the flight but instead aimed to document his parachute descent and the subsequent crash of his plane in the Los Padres National Forest for a YouTube video titled “I Crashed My Airplane.”

The video, which garnered over 3 million views before being set to private, showed Jacob reacting to a purported engine failure, ejecting from the plane, and parachuting to safety.

Prior to the flight, he had equipped the aircraft with multiple cameras, one focusing on the propeller, and himself with a parachute, video camera, and selfie stick. He managed to record the crash into dry brush in the forest and later retrieved data from the wreckage.

Jacob reported the crash to the National Transportation Safety Board two days later, which initiated an investigation. He was instructed to preserve the wreckage for examination, but in the weeks following, Jacob misled investigators about the location of the wreckage.

On December 10, he and a friend used a helicopter to retrieve the plane remains from the crash site and transported them to Santa Barbara County.

In an attempt to obstruct federal investigations, Jacob brought the wreckage back to Lompoc City Airport, where he destroyed evidence over several days, disposing of the parts in airport trash bins. His actions not only led to criminal charges but also to widespread criticism for his recklessness and the danger posed by his stunt.

Prosecutors in the case argued that Jacob’s "daredevil" conduct, seemingly motivated by the desire for social media fame and financial gain, represented "exceptionally poor judgment" and could not be tolerated, leading to his six-month prison sentence.

See the video of Trevor Jacob’s plane crash right here:

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