Flight attendant flees plane on emergency chute

August 9, 2010 8:27:25 PM PDT
Police have arrested a flight attendant after he fled the plane following an alleged confrontation with a passenger. He deployed an emergency chute as the JetBlue flight from Pittsburgh landed at JFK International Airport.

Steven Slater was smiling -- when police led him away in handcuffs.

This time there would be no quick escape, unlike what police say happened when the flight attendant bailed out of a Jet Blue plane on the JFK tarmac Monday afternoon.

"It's kind of funny," said neighbor, Tony Durante.

His neighbors can't believe what police say he did.

"It's the most ridiculous thing I've heard," Durante said.

Flight 1052 from Pittsburgh was pulling into the gate shortly before 1 p.m.

Police say Slater got into an argument with a passenger about luggage in an overhead compartment.

Investigators believe the passenger yelled, cursed and may have even hit Slater, who then apparently snapped.

According to another passenger on the plane, Slater yelled this through the plane's loudspeaker, "To the passenger who just called me a (expletive), (expletive) you. I've been in this business 28 years and I've had it."

"It's a strange way to quit, let's put it that way. I don't think he'll be able to come back," Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

According to police, Slater then activated the emergency chute, jumped off the plane, headed to his car and drove to his Belle Harbor home.

He was later arrested at his home.

On the internet, Steven Slater says he has been a flight attendant since 1994.

He didn't start working for Jet Blue until two years ago.

After what police say happened on this Jet Blue flight, his future with the company is very much up in the air.

"I feel bad for him, he lost his cool," said neighbor, George Garland.


JetBlue released the following statement.

"Flight 1052, arriving at JFK from Pittsburgh International Airport shortly after 12:00PM, experienced an evacuation slide deployment after parking at the gate. There were no injuries and all customers deplaned the aircraft safely through the jetway. At this time, we are working with the FAA and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to investigate the incident. At no time was the security or safety of our Customers or Crewmembers at risk."