The ex-jetBlue flight attendant who made headlines in 2010 when he activated an emergency slide after an argument with a passenger has gone missing in Mexico. Steven Slater, who was until recently working at SeaWorld in San Diego, reportedly moved to Tijuana in Mexico in the last few weeks and then lost all contact with friends and family last Sunday.
The Chula Vista Police Department told entertainment website TMZ that it was investigating the disappearance and was working with the Mexican authorities in an attempt to locate Slater.
Slater rose to infamy nine years ago when he dramatically quit his job as a flight attendant by popping an emergency slide and jumping onto the tarmac with a beer. He had been working on jetBlue flight 1052 from Pittsburgh to New York JFK on 9th August 2010 when he got into an argument with a passenger upon landing.
According to Slater, the passenger had repeatedly ignored requests to remain seated after landing and while the plane was still taxiing to the stand. In the end, Slater had to intervene but ended up getting hit in the head with a bag as the passenger tried to take her luggage out the overhead locker.
An argument ensued and the passenger is said to have started shouting and swearing before Slater finally snapped. He reportedly grabbed the PA and said to the whole plane:”To the f–king a–hole that told me to f–k off, it’s been a good 28 years!”
“I’ve been in this business for 20 years. And that’s it, I’m done.”
When the plane came to a stop, Slater activated the emergency slide, grabbed a beer and then slid down the slide before running across the tarmac.
Initially investigated for a number of serious criminal offences, Slater eventually managed to strike a plea deal that saw him pay $10,000 to jetBlue to replace the emergency slide. Slater even appeared on CNN to explain why he did it but police investigations revealed that none of the passengers on board the plane could corroborate his story.
At the time, a spokesperson for the FAA summed up the whole incident quite succinctly: “Clearly, you’re not supposed to pop the slides unless there’s an emergency in the aircraft”.