Passengers aboard a Spirit Airlines flight scheduled to depart Baltimore-Washington International airport Tuesday morning were made to deplane as law enforcement officials removed several people from the flight.
According to WJLA reporter Suzanne Kennedy, who was on the plane at the time, four people were removed from flight NK969 to Chicago. Those four people, three men and one woman, appeared to be in their early 30s, were of Middle Eastern decent and had backpacks, Kennedy said on Twitter.
Kennedy reported that the woman got up with a small child and headed to the bathrooms as the plane taxied for take off.
A federal law enforcement official told WJLA that the flight crew was not comfortable with a few passengers on board and asked for them to be removed.
Spirit Airlines credited Tuesday's delay to "law enforcement activity" in a statement to TheBlaze.
"While the aircraft was taxiing to the runway, a passenger alerted a flight attendant of a passenger engaged in suspicious activity on board. The flight attendant notified the captain, and out of an abundance of caution, the plane returned to the gate," Stephen Schuler, spokesman for Spirit Airlines, said in a statement to TheBlaze. "Law enforcement officers removed four passengers from the plane for questioning."
Schuler said the aircraft and luggage were screened by TSA prior to taking off around 8:30 a.m. — more than two hours after its original 6 a.m. departure schedule.
Spirit Airlines flight NK 969 called back to gate while taxiing to takeoff. Four psgrs removed from plane. 3men 1 woman. Flight to ORD— Suzanne Kennedy (@ABC7Suzanne) November 17, 2015
Woman got up and went to back of plane w/child as plane was taxiing. Then aircraft called back to gate. Plane being held at gate— Suzanne Kennedy (@ABC7Suzanne) November 17, 2015
Psgrs had carry on luggage. Several backpacks Appeared to be in early 30s and of middle eastern descent— Suzanne Kennedy (@ABC7Suzanne) November 17, 2015
Plane was scheduled for 6a departure. Still being held at gate. Psgrs remaining calm on flight.— Suzanne Kennedy (@ABC7Suzanne) November 17, 2015
4 ppl initially removed by MTA Police. Several others (3) called over loud speaker and removed. TSA now conducting its investigation.— Suzanne Kennedy (@ABC7Suzanne) November 17, 2015
Spirit Airlines flight 969 cleared for takeoff. Security check by TSA complete— Suzanne Kennedy (@ABC7Suzanne) November 17, 2015
The incident is still under investigation.