JetBlue Chief Operating Officer Rob Maruster says in the memo that the airline is still investigating, but that no one has yet corroborated Slater’s version of events. In fact, JetBlue notes, several passengers "have given interviews that tell a different story."
Interestingly, many stories have surfaced over the last couple days suggesting that Slater was rude the entire flight, like this from the WSJ:
Lauren Dominijanni, 25, who was flying to New York on business, said Mr. Slater was rude to her the moment she got on the plane.
She said someone had spilled coffee on her seat and when she asked for a sanitary wipe to clean it up, Mr. Slater "rolled his eyes at me and said, ‘What?’ in a real rude manner."
Ms. Dominijanni, of Pittsburgh, said that when she pointed to the spilled coffee, Mr. Slater barked, "No! Maybe when we get in the air! I need to take care of myself first, honey!" She said he was pointing to the gash on his head.
Initial news accounts of the incident reported that Slater’s cut on the head came from the unruly passenger at the end of the flight, who got up early to retrieve her carry-on bag and struck Slater’s forehead as she pulled her bag out the overhead bin. According to Dominijanni and others, he had the gash on his head prior to takeoff.
The JetBlue memo also bemoaned the lack of media focus on the hazards of deploying the exit slide.
"Slides deploy extremely quickly, with enough force to kill a person," the letter to employees read. "Slides can be as dangerous as a gun."
Don’t tell the TSA!
At this point, the wisest course of action is to wait for the dust to settle before jumping to any more conclusions. COO Maruster also told employees that if Salter’s account of the injuries he sustained were true, JetBlue would "take action".
"Let me just say this: JetBlue will always seek to prosecute people who physically harm or threaten to harm a crewmember or customer. Period."
We’ve still got a long way to go before we get to the bottom of this story.
(Tip of the Hat to John) photo courtesy of Facebook