Josh Neuman, a popular American YouTuber, skateboarder, and social media influencer, died in a small plane crash in Iceland, according to a statement made by his family via Neuman’s Instagram on Monday.
Neuman had been on the sightseeing flight to develop content for his partner Suspicious Antwerp, a Belgian-based streetwear company. The company confirmed that Neuman had been on the plane alongside Suspicious Antwerp sponsorship manager Tim Ailings, 27, Nicole Bellavia, 32, a Belgian skydiver and media influencer, and the pilot, Haraldur Diego, 49. All of those on board the plane perished in the accident.
The plane, a four-seat Cessna 1172 Skyhawk, had been missing since Thursday. It had sent no distress signal and was only located after several days with the help of over 1,000 search and rescue personnel. They eventually found the empty aircraft on Saturday in Lake Thingvallavatn, approximately 30 miles from the capital, Reykjavik. The four bodies were located via sonar and submarine searches the following day; however, they have yet to be recovered due to harsh weather conditions. Retrieval efforts will continue once conditions have improved.
Suspicious Antwerp released a statement that thanked the Icelandic and international rescue workers and volunteers for their efforts in the search, according to NPR. “We are enormously distressed by the news and our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends,” it read. “We are in close contact with them, as well as with the authorities, and we’re doing everything we can to assist them during these difficult times.”
A statement on the Suspicious Antwerp website read, “The loss of our close friends has left all of us at Suspicious Antwerp in a state of mourning. We want to express our immense gratitude to everyone for their support, condolences, and love. The same gratitude goes out to the emergency services, volunteers, and many others that have been and are still working selflessly day and night to help the loved ones find closure.”
Neuman, who had almost 1.2 million YouTube subscribers at the time of his death, came to prominence with his daredevil videos, racing down mountain switchbacks on his longboard, hiking volcanoes, and sky diving from helicopters. One video, entitled Raw Run: Race Against the Storm, has over 100 million views. He began filming videos for the site when he was 12-years-old.
Neuman Briefly attended college in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, before deciding to pursue his passion full time. He had traveled the world in his work as a content creator and filmed footage for a diverse portfolio of brands that included Prada, Lexus, and Go Pro.
According to his family’s Instagram statement, Neuman believed in living each day to its fullest while at the same time treating all he met with kindness, and that he “represents the side of humanity we all strive to achieve. The way he not just touched, but impacted lives was on a scale of its own. In his quest for adventure, thirst for creativity, and passion for a personal reflection, he truly impacted all those he touched.”
The family also noted that Neuman passed away living life as he wanted, adding, “As the world sheds a tear, we should know that he passed doing what he loved, having just experienced the Northern Lights in Iceland for the first time commenting, ‘This is the happiest day of my life.'”
The family has announced its intention to set up a charitable trust in Neuman’s name to honor his personal causes of “ending homelessness, protecting clean water, aiding animal preservation, and fighting deforestation.” They noted that “Since he was a little boy, he has always taken a significant piece of each dollar earned and given back to charity.”