The 23-year-old wife of Senator Rod Zimmer, 69, was arrested after an Air Canada flight landed safely in Saskatoon. According to a witness, the woman's actions on the plane were exaggerated.
Police in Saskatoon were called to the John G. Diefenbaker Airport around 8 p.m. last Thursday. The Star-Phoenix reports after the plane landed and the passengers had disembarked, Maygan Sensenberger was taken into custody. Sensenberger had been with her husband on the flight that originated in Halifax and stopped in Ottawa before flying on to Saskatoon.
Sensenberger was charged with one count of causing a disturbance in a public place and one count of endangering the safety of an aircraft by committing an act of violence. Although causing a disturbance is a relatively minor offence, endangering the safety of an aircraft carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
Alyson Edwards, a spokeswoman for the Saskatoon Police Service, is quoted in Maclean's as saying, "It's our understanding that throughout the flight, there was a verbal altercation taking place of a domestic nature." Edwards added the large disturbance grew worse as the plane neared Saskatoon.
Sensenberger appeared in a Saskatoon court on Friday. The National Post reports the prosecutor said the woman threatened to kill her husband and threatened to "take down the aircraft." But at least one witness saw the incident differently.
Passenger Scott Wright told News Talk 650 he was with the couple for most of the flight and said the incident began after Zimmer said he felt a tightening in his chest. Wright said, "From the perspective of being one of three people that stayed right with them through the rest of the flight, I at no time felt physically threatened or concerned, at no time felt frankly that the outbursts that she was having were threatening aside from 'my god is he going to be OK.'"
Wright added that Sensenberger's outbursts were caused because she felt her husband's medical condition was not being taken seriously enough.
Zimmer, who sits as a Liberal, was appointed to the Senate in 2005 by then prime minister Paul Martin.
When Sensenberger appeared in court, she was remanded in custody until Monday for a bail hearing. Monday is also the couple's first wedding anniversary.