Wednesday 20 September 2017

Video: Emergency slide controversy flight attendant appears in court

A flight attendant accused of endangering the lives of passengers on board a plane following an argument has appeared in court.

Steven Slater, 39, is alleged to have flipped out over a row with an agitated traveller, cursing over the intercom before grabbing a beer from the JetBlue plane's galley and making an exit down the emergency slide at New York's JFK international airport.

Slater, who lives near the airport, appeared in a state court in New York accused of criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and trespassing - counts which carry a maximum penalty of seven years in prison. The judge set his bail at $2,500 (€1,900), and he was later released.

After the hearing Slater told reporters: "It seems like something here has resonated with a few people. And that's kinda neat."

Slater, whose father was an airline pilot, has already been elevated to folk-hero status with more than 20,000 supporting him on various Facebook groups.

Slater's attorney Howard Turman said his client had been drawn into a fight between two female passengers over space in the overhead lockers as the Pittsburgh to New York flight was awaiting take-off. Somehow, Slater was hit in the head.

After JetBlue Flight 1052 landed in New York, one of the women who had been asked to gate-check her bag was enraged that it wasn't immediately available, Turman said.

"The woman was outraged and cursed him out a great deal," Turman said. "At some point, I think he just wanted to avoid conflict with her.

"That's when he deployed the slide," Turman said.

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