SASKATOON—A passenger says a senator’s wife charged with causing a disturbance on a flight was upset her husband was experiencing tightness in his chest, but she wasn’t threatening.
Scott Wright, a former ambulance attendant, said he volunteered last Thursday when the crew on the Ottawa to Saskatoon flight asked for anyone with medical experience to help Sen. Rod Zimmer, who wasn’t feeling well.
He said Zimmer’s wife, Maygan Sensenberger, 23, was emotionally distraught by her husband’s condition.
Wright said Zimmer, 69, started feeling better after he was given some oxygen, but Sensenberger was still upset and the couple were fighting with each other over Zimmer’s condition.
“I never at any time felt threatened,” Wright said Monday. “And all of the frustration she expressed while I was there was targeted around the medical condition and the health of her husband.”
Sensenberger was charged with endangering the safety of the aircraft and causing a disturbance.
On Monday, a Saskatoon provincial court judge released her on the condition that she have no contact with her husband.
Zimmer sat in the front row of the courtroom during the hearing.
Wright said he and several other passengers were doing their best to help. He said the crew asked him if he believed they needed to land early, but when Zimmer began to feel better, the decision was made to continue on to Saskatoon.
“She saw us doing the primary work so she was continuing to speak out. She was continuing to say, ‘What’s happening? Is he OK? Tell me he’s going to be OK. Why aren’t you doing more? Why aren’t you doing something?'” Wright said.
“She did pause to yell at one or two of the other passengers who were peering over or trying to see what was going on,” he continued. “There was the odd profanity offered.”
No one was injured in the incident and police say the safety of the aircraft was not compromised.
Wright said the only physical conflict that he saw was between Sensenberger and Zimmer when he was trying to calm her down, although he said he didn’t see anything that may have transpired before he was asked to help out.
“The only grabbing and pushing I saw was between her and him as he was trying to calm her and nudge the hand over and settle her down. I saw none with other passengers. I didn’t see any with passengers or airline personnel,” Wright said.
Wright said the flight attendants did their best to calm the situation.
Court records show the disturbance happened on Air Canada Flight 8597, which originated in Halifax, stopped in Ottawa and then went on to Saskatoon.
Officers and ambulance staff met the plane when it landed.
A police spokeswoman said last Friday that according to witnesses, Sensenberger created a large disturbance and it only got worse as the plane neared Saskatoon.
The court records show police believe she uttered threats against her husband and threatened to take down the plane.
Sensenberger made a court appearance Friday and was remanded in custody until Monday’s appearance.
Zimmer, who is a Liberal and represents Manitoba in the senate, was appointed to the Canadian upper chamber in 2005 by then-prime minister Paul Martin.
A Facebook page that was started in 2010 called, “Rod Zimmer & Maygan Sensenberger’s Wedding Page,” says they were married on Aug. 27, 2011.
That would make Monday their first wedding anniversary.
— By Rob Drinkwater in Edmonton with files from CKOM in Saskatoon.