One social media influencer may have taken things a little too far for clicks!
According to multiple reports, Trevor Jacob has found himself at the center of a federal investigation on suspicion of crashing a plane on purpose for views and attention on social media. The former Olympic snowboarder posted a video on YouTube in December showing him flying over the Los Padres National Forest in California. However, his small Taylorcraft BL64 aircraft suddenly started experiencing engine failure at one point.
The footage immediately cuts to Jacob abandoning his aircraft with a parachute while the plane crashes somewhere in the distance. The internet personality then spent what he claimed were several hours hiking through the wilderness in search of help with no phone service or water but he later found himself at the site of the wreckage. Jacob said at one point during his trek:
“I am exhausted. I’m so thirsty. I’m scared, I’m in trouble, I’m cut all over the place. The only option I have is crawling through these bushes like I have been for the last five hours. And, uh, I’m in pain, man. I’m hurting. Whatever I’m going through, I wish upon nobody.”
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Someone, whom the influencer identified as “a farmer,” eventually picked up the influencer. The nearly 13-minute video has since garnered more than a million views. You can ch-ch-check it out (below):
However, the clip has received some negative attention from the aviation community, who have questioned whether the athlete had staged the entire crash to get more “clicks” and make the video go viral. YouTuber Trent Palmer found that Jacob seemingly unlatched his door before the engine went and did not look for a secure place to land. Reviewing aerial footage of the area, he then noted that Jacob suspiciously could have tried an emergency landing with a higher probability of success. Palmer expressed in his video:
“The YouTube beast is an interesting one, and it obviously rewards people who get the clicks and get the views, so we’re always gonna be in a battle of getting people’s eyes on our videos. This one’s just way over the line. It frustrates me because when someone does something like this, goes out and apparently intentionally crashing an airplane to get views, it looks bad on all aviation content creators.”
Another content creator named Dan Millican, who hosts the airplane channel Taking Off, shared that general aviation pilots don’t normally fly wearing parachutes – especially skydiving parachutes. He explained that most small aircraft pilots don’t wear those types because they can be too heavy and there’s not enough room inside for it.
Following the backlash, the Federal Aviation Administration confirmed this week to AVWeb that they are now investigating the situation. While no other details were provided on the matter, Gizmodo shared that the investigation should determine whether the “plane malfunctioned” or was “intentionally sabotaged.”
We’ll have to wait and see what comes of this investigation. But if it turns out that Jacob allegedly did do it for clout, then we have to admit that’s pretty f**ked up.
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[Image via Trevor Jacob/YouTube]