YouTuber charged for stunt where fireworks were shot at his Lamborghini from flying helicopter


A popular YouTuber faces federal charges after a video showed two women shooting fireworks out of a helicopter at a Lamborghini in a social media stunt.

Suk Min Choi, who goes by the name Alex Choi on social media, was charged with causing the placement of an explosive or incendiary device on an aircraft.

The charges stem from a video Choi posted around July 4, 2023, titled “Destroying a Lamborghini With Fireworks,” according to a federal criminal affidavit filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Federal authorities said Choi did not obtain the required approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to film the video and he did not have an explosives license or permit from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

In the nearly 11-minute video, Choi presses a “fire missiles” button, and two women in a moving helicopter shoot fireworks toward the luxury sports vehicle, the affidavit says.

“After shooting what appears to be a live-action version of a fictionalized video game scene, the video transitions to a behind-the-scenes look at how Choi shot the first third of the video,” the court document states.

Two women shoot fireworks from a helicopter in the video Two women shoot fireworks from a helicopter in the video

Two women shoot fireworks from a helicopter in the video

Choi, who has nearly 1 million subscribers on his YouTube channel, could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday. It appears the video has since been taken down.

It’s not clear if Choi has obtained an attorney.

Choi was released Thursday after posting $50,000 bond, records show. An arraignment was scheduled for July 2.

In December, an inspector with the FAA notified the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Transportation that Choi’s video was being investigated.

The affidavit details how Choi planned the video shoot and traveled to Las Vegas to purchase the fireworks “as they are illegal in California.”

“Choi wrote his idea was to make a short, one minute video of an ‘attack helicopter shooting missiles (mortar style fireworks) at the car, while the car is trying to run away and dodge the missiles using flares (roman candle fireworks attached to the back of the car,'” the document states, citing an email written by Choi.

The affidavit also details text messages between Choi and the camera company he used for the shoot. In one message to Choi, the sender wrote an idea about cameras capturing “insane 360-degree bumpers shot with firecrackers.”

A scene from the video A scene from the video

A scene from the video

In response, Choi allegedly wrote that he could “get my friend with a helicopter out and attach cameras on the helicopter while he chases me.”

“I can even have someone sitting in the helicopter and have them shoot fireworks back at me,” he said in another text, according to the affidavit.

Federal authorities said radar data from the day of the video shoot showed that the helicopter left an airport in Pacoima, California, around 1:53 p.m. and turned toward El Mirage Lake, a dry lake in California, where the video was filmed.

The helicopter’s transponder was then turned off, according to the affidavit. The helicopter reappeared on the radar and flew back to the airport just before 9 p.m., the document says.

The pilot initially told an FAA inspector that he did not know anything about the El Mirage video, according to the affidavit. In a follow-up call, he told inspectors that he did not want Choi to know he was speaking with them and said “Choi was doing unsafe activities involving cars and aircraft.

In January, the FAA issued an emergency order revoking the pilot’s private pilot certification, the affidavit says.

The FAA also interviewed a drone operator who stated he had concerns about the video shoot and “tried to stay away and behind the helicopter” during filming. The drone operator said he did not remember any first responders on site.

A second drone operator said that before filming began there was a “safety talk that he described as spontaneous where Choi did the talking,” according to the affidavit.

The incident comes months after another YouTuber was sentenced to six months in federal prison after he intentionally crashed a small aircraft to boost video views as part of a sponsorship deal.

Trevor Jacob, of Lompoc, California, pleaded guilty last year to one count of destruction and concealment with the intent to obstruct a federal investigation. Prosecutors said that Jacob lied to investigators and a Federal Aviation Administration safety inspector about why he ejected from his Taylorcraft BL-65 before it crashed in November 2021.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com



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