US flight attendant arrested after JFK ruckus
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Last Updated: Tuesday, August 10, 2010, 21:00
New York: A furious flight attendant cursed passengers, grabbed a beer and then dramatically activated an emergency chute to flee from the plane at a JFK Airport terminal has been arrested for criminal mischief.

New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said it "appears" Steven Slater, working with Jet Blue airlines was quitting.

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

Police arrested 39-year-old Slater for allegedly triggering the emergency escape chute, a spokeswoman for the district attorney said.

Slater was arrested at his home and charged with criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and criminal trespass, said Helen Peterson at the Queens District Attorney's Office.

The incident took place just after the Jet Blue flight from Pittsburgh to New York landed yesterday at JFK when a passenger stood to remove a bag from the overhead bin while the plane was still taxiing. The flight attendant exchanged words with the passenger, and the conversation escalated.

Slater picked up the intercom and used expletives directed at the passengers, CNN quoted a source with knowledge of the investigation as saying.

It is not clear exactly what was said on the intercom. The source said that when the plane at stopped at the gate, Slater then grabbed some beer from the beverage cart before deploying the emergency slide and using it to leave the plane.

After leaping from the plane, the flight attendant ran to a car he had parked at the airport and drove to his home in Queens, officials said.

New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said that it "appears" the flight attendant quit his job in a very dramatic way.

The identity of the passenger involved in the altercation has not been confirmed.

As a rule, passengers are required to stay in their seats with their seatbelts fastened until the pilot has reached the gate and gives the all clear sign.

Peterson said the second degree criminal mischief and first degree reckless endangerment charges are felonies that could land Slater in jail for up to seven years.


First Published: Tuesday, August 10, 2010, 21:00

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