Man ar­rested af­ter flight di­verted

Air Canada plane lands in Florida af­ter On­tario res­i­dent al­legedly tries to open door

Cape Breton Post - - News - BY MICHELLE MCQUIGGE

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.

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