The man who caused a trans-Atlantic flight to be diverted to Iqaluit last week says he doesn’t remember any of what happened aboard the plane when he became so violent that nine male passengers had to help restrain him.
Darren Edward Cosby’s behaviour forced the landing of an Air Transat flight from Vancouver to London at the Iqaluit airport March 27, where he was met by RCMP and taken into custody.
Cosby, a U.K. citizen, was living in Vancouver on a one-year work visa and was flying back to England to visit his girlfriend and her family and take a vacation in Portugal.
"We'd been talking about maybe getting engaged and I was going to pop the question to her in Portugal but unfortunately I didn't make it," he said.
Instead Cosby ended up causing terror on the Air Transat flight, swearing, spitting, smashing a mirror and a coffeepot, threatening flight attendants and the passengers who had to help keep him under control, and trying to bite those restraining him just before the plane landed.
Cosby maintains he's a nervous flyer and drank alcohol he brought onboard to calm himself and get some sleep.
"I haven’t flown a lot but when I do fly, I don’t really like it. I just get nervous, more at takeoff and landing," he said. "It was an overnight flight. I thought, if I have a little bit to drink I can fall asleep and wake up an hour out of London."
He said he wasn’t aware altitude multiplies the effect of alcohol. He said after falling asleep on the plane, the next thing he remembers is waking up in an RCMP cell.
'I thought, if I have a little bit to drink I can fall asleep and wake up an hour out of London.' —Darren Cosby
"To be honest, your police cells are quite like the ones in the U.K., from what I remember from when I was done for misdemeanors when I was a teenager, and I thought for a second I was actually in the U.K. It wasn’t until the officer spoke and asked if I knew where I was that it sort of hit reality."
He said he was "mortified" to hear about what he had done and said to people aboard the plane and that it was out of character for him.
"That just isn’t me," he said.
"As far as I was concerned, I was blacked out. I may have said those things and if I did I totally apologize to all those concerned. For me to say I hate the Welsh is very harsh, as my son is half-Welsh, half-English."
He said he called his girlfriend, who was waiting at the airport, explained the situation, and urged her to go on to Portugal with her family without him.
After an initial court appearance, he was remanded to Baffin Correctional Centre for a week, which he said was "very scary."
"I’ve never been in prison before. I’m in a foreign country. I was told I was going to be the only white Caucasian in the whole of the prison. I didn’t know if that was going to cause a big problem; thankfully it didn’t."
He pleaded guilty to a charge of endangering the safety or security of an aircraft in flight under the Aeronautics Act. He said he was relieved to receive a $2,000 fine and a $14,000 restitution order to the airline, since the maximum punishment for that charge is a $100,000 fine and five years in prison.
Cosby left Iqaluit Thursday for the U.K.
"I will never, ever drink again. Ever," he said. "I’ve got my 40th birthday coming up in August. I won’t even be celebrating with a drink for that. Lemonade all the way for me now."