Man arrested after flight diverted
Air Canada plane lands in Florida after Ontario resident allegedly tries to open door
An Ontario man is in federal custody in the United States after allegedly assaulting members of an Air Canada flight crew and trying to open the door of a plane while it was in flight.
Court documents show Brandon Michael Courneyea was arrested on Monday after his flight from Montego Bay, Jamaica, to Toronto had to be diverted because of a disturbance on board.
The documents allege Courneyea yelled at fellow passengers for looking at him, swung pots full of hot coffee at flight attendants and eventually tried to open the door of the aircraft mid-flight after saying “it would only take one guy to take the plane down.”
The flight was ultimately diverted to Orlando, Fla., where Courneyea was arrested and taken into custody by the FBI.
A criminal complaint against him says he was arrested under a charge of assault or intimidation of a flight crew member and interfering with their job duties, an allegation that has not yet been proven in court.
Courneyea’s wife, Amanda Courneyea, says his arrest has come as a complete shock, saying his alleged behaviour is not in keeping with the man she knows.
“That is not my husband at all,” she told The Canadian Press. “There’s a lot more to what brought that on, because my husband is the kindest, most loving man you’ll ever meet. And anybody that knows him will tell you the same thing.”
She said her 33-year-old husband headed off to Jamaica last week from his home in Amherstview, Ont., to fulfil a long-held desire to take a vacation there.
She said she had urged him to “cross it off his bucket list,” adding he travelled alone because the couple has five children, many of whom have special needs, and cannot be left in the care of a babysitter.
But Brandon Courneyea’s vacation plans went awry almost immediately, according to his wife, who said he told her that locals were threatening his life.
She arranged for him to move up his flight plans from Friday to Monday, booking him on an Air Canada flight to Toronto that left Montego Bay in the late afternoon.