HOUSTON - Sources have confirmed a picture obtained by Channel 2 News features the United Airlines flight attendant who was fired after she intentionally opened an emergency slide.
Video shows Julia Price opening a plane door and inflating the emergency slide after the aircraft landed Monday at Bush Intercontinental Airport. The Federal Aviation Administration is now investigating the incident.
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According to an official with United Airlines, the incident happened around noon after Flight 1246 landed in Houston after traveling from Sacramento. Julia Price deployed an evacuation slide when the aircraft reached Gate C43 and came to a full stop.
The plane had just landed at IAH around noon from Sacramento. After the chute deployed, Price first throws her bag to the ground nearly 15 feet below and then she slides down the inflated slide to depart the aircraft.
KPRC 2 spoke with Price's family Tuesday. They said she is doing well and prefers to keep the matter private.
Flight attendants are trained for this sort of thing in an emergency, and Price apparently took that training seriously, sliding down the chute in textbook fashion. Passengers inside Bush were in utter disbelief.
"That's insane. Why?" Traveler Sharon Lovedahl said. "Why would she do that?"
Neither United nor investigators have revealed what led to Price's quick exit, but she doesn't appear to be too ruffled in the video.
After sliding down the chute, Price lands and takes a few steps before grabbing the bag she threw down first and walking away.
Some passengers on the plane didn't even realize what happened because their attention was on a medical emergency at the back of the plane. A man was having trouble breathing and needed to be escorted off the flight in a wheelchair.
"When we landed we were told to stay in our seats as deplaning would take a bit longer,” said Jonah Vella, a passenger who was connecting through Houston to Munich while traveling for his video blog on YouTube. Vella added, "Everything seemed to be pretty standard."
Price won't be exiting any planes in this fashion anytime soon and is no longer employed by United.
All the other passengers deplaned normally and were safe.
The aircraft is back in service.
Channel 2 Legal analyst Brian Wice says in his opinion it’s unlikely this flight attendant will be charged with a crime.
“I can’t see any wrong doing on a local state or federal level that this flight attendant might have engaged in,” he said. "She didn’t act to put herself, the flight crew or any of those passengers that are on the United plane at risk.”
As of Tuesday night, Channel 2 Investigates was not aware of any criminal investigation into Price.
United Airlines released a statement on the incident:
“We hold our employees to the highest standards. This unsafe behavior is unacceptable and does not represent the more than 20,000 flight attendants who ensure the safety of our customers. We are reviewing this matter and the flight attendant is no longer employed by United.”
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