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A former Jet Blue flight attendant garnered international attention after an uproarious exit from an aircraft in 2010. Now, after moving to Tijuana, he's gone missing.
Steven Slater, who had more recently been employed at Sea World in San Diego, posted on Facebook on Aug. 4 about visiting the Monumental Arch landmark in Tijuana before vanishing completely, according to the Chula Vista Police Department. Friends reported the disappearance when they could not get in touch with him.
News stories about Slater had widely circulated in 2010: While working as a steward, a wild altercation with a passenger on a plane that had landed at the Kennedy International Airport in New York led to Slater deploying the vehicle's emergency slide for a dramatic departure during a foul-mouthed tirade.
“To the f--king a--hole that told me to f--k off, it’s been a good 28 years!” Slater announced on the plane's loudspeaker after accidentally being hit in the head by a passenger's bag, catalyzing an argument.
He was later arrested at his home in Queens, New York and charged with felony counts of criminal mischief and reckless endangerment.
“When they hit that emergency chute, it drops down quickly within seconds,” an officer said to the Times, shortly after the incident. “If someone was on the ground and it came down without warning, someone could be injured or killed.”
TMZ first broke the story of the dispute, which was later covered by the New York Times. He ultimately struck a plea bargain that allowed him to avoid jail time. As part of the deal he was mandated to attend counseling and paid $10,000 to replace the emergency slide.
More recently, Slater had moved to Tijuana to save money and had been commuting to San Diego for work.
“He left his job at SeaWorld on Sunday to cross back over,” Jim Fossett, a friend of Slater's, told The New York Post. “He seemed like he felt pretty safe in the neighborhood where he lived. I don’t know if he met up with the wrong person or he got mugged or something. ... Hopefully we’ll find him intact, but right now we’re all kind of worried.”
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