WASHINGTON – A YouTube star and former Olympian is under fire after the Federal Aviation Administration said he intentionally jumped out of his plane and let it crash late last year.
According to The New York Times, the incident occurred Nov. 24 over California’s Los Padres National Forest. Trevor Jacob, 28, previously said he was flying to spread a late friend’s ashes when the propeller of his single-engine Taylorcraft plane stopped moving, the newspaper reported. A video of the flight, which he shared on YouTube in December, shows Jacob jumping from the plane while wearing a parachute, landing and hiking through the forest.
By Thursday morning, the viral clip had racked up more than 1.7 million views.
>> Watch the video here (WARNING: Contains profanity.)
The FAA said in an April 11 letter to Jacob that it was revoking his pilot certificate in response to the incident, citing his “careless or reckless” actions. The agency pointed out that in the video, the pilot’s door was already open when the alleged engine failure took place, the Times reported. The letter also said Jacob did not try to contact air traffic control, restart the engine or find a safe landing spot, according to the newspaper.
“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 agency wrote in the letter obtained by the Times. “Your egregious and intentional actions on these dates indicate that you presently lack the degree of care, judgment and responsibility required of a certificate holder.”
Jacob, who competed as a snowboarder in the 2014 Winter Olympics, did not seem aware of the agency’s decision when the Times asked him to comment Wednesday. He previously denied that the crash was intentional.
“I’ll happily say I did not purposely crash my plane for views on YouTube,” Jacob said in a statement in January, according to the Times.
Last week, Jacob said in a YouTube video that he “can’t talk about” the crash, citing his attorney’s advice, and added that “the truth of that situation will come out with time,” the Times reported.
KTVU reported in January that the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident; however, the Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General declined to confirm whether the FAA was investigating the flight, the Times reported Wednesday.
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