(KRON) — A YouTube star crashed his airplane in California and pretended it was a death-defying accident, all in an effort to get attention on social media, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Trevor Jacob uploaded footage of the Nov. 24 plane crash to YouTube in December 2021, exactly one month after the stunt. The video currently has over 2 million views, while Jacob himself has roughly 134,000 followers on the platform.
In the video, Jacob appears to take off in his plane with the intention of spreading someone’s ashes over the Los Padres National Forest. Once over the mountains, his propeller appears to stop spinning.
“Holy s—,” he says. “I’m over the mountains and I … [got] an engine out.”
With a parachute already strapped to his back, Jacob jumps out of the plane, gripping a selfie stick to record himself. He lands in prickly brush and proclaims, “I’m just so happy to be alive.”
The video continues for another 10 minutes, and includes footage of Jacob hiking through rugged wilderness like a self-shot episode of “Survivor.”
Many viewers on YouTube noted that the video appeared to be staged — and the FAA appears to have come to the same conclusion.
On April 11, the FAA sent a letter to Jacob informing him that he is now banned from flying as a result of the stunt, according to a copy of the Emergency Order of Revocation obtained by Nexstar. He was also prohibited from applying for new certification for a year.
“Your actions … were careless and reckless so as to endanger the life and property of another,” the letter read in part.
The FAA detailed several pieces of evidence that suggested the stunt was staged, pointing to portions of the video that show: Jacob wearing his backpack prior to the propeller stopping; Jacob opening his plane door prior to the propeller stopping; Jacob making no attempt to contact Air Traffic Control; Jacob making no attempt to restart the engine; and Jacob grabbing a selfie stick to film himself parachuting from the plane, among other suspicious behavior.
The FAA also noted that Jacob made no attempt to glide his plane toward a safe landing spot, despite there being “multiple” suitable areas for such a landing within gliding distance, the letter says.
Following the crash, Jacob recovered the wreckage of the plane and disposed of it, according to the FAA. He also recovered the cameras.
“You demonstrated a lack of care, judgment and responsibility by choosing to jump out of an aircraft solely so you could record the footage of the crash,” the letter stated. “Your egregious and intentional actions … indicate that you presently lack the degree of care, judgment and responsibility required of a certificate holder.”
Jacob was ordered to surrender his license immediately and informed that he faces civil penalties of up to $1,644 for each day he waited to do so. He may also be subject to “further legal enforcement action,” the FAA wrote.
In response to the FAA’s letter, Jacob simply told CBS News that the agency “brought up some astonishing observations.”
Jacob, a former Olympic snowboarder, now claims he intends to address the controversy in an upcoming video.
“Stay tuned for a video about the FAA taking my license for 10 months, releasing in the next 24 hours,” Jacob wrote in the caption of an unrelated YouTube video he shared on April 22.