Published and written by: KTLA News, Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES — Two passengers, both described as Middle Eastern, were removed from a New York-bound United flight at LAX after one of them refused to comply with a flight attendant’s request to remain seated just before takeoff, police said.
Passengers on United Flight 22 told reporters the flight was about to take off when a man in row 23 jumped up, stating he needed to go to the bathroom. 110 passengers were on board the flight.
Passenger Charlie Rosene says the man ran to the bathroom despite a flight attendant’s orders to sit down. That’s when a flight attendant notified the pilot and told him a passenger was acting “suspiciously.”
The pilot returned the plane to the gate where the man and his companion were taken off the flight for questioning.
The other passengers on board were escorted off the plane and are being re-screened at Gate 73. The plane was searched but nothing suspicious was found, police said.
Airport police say there was no bomb threat made against the jet.
Both men will be questioned by the FBI and are said to be cooperating with authorities. The LAPD’s anti-terrorism unit and the FBI are on the case, but the source said it’s too early to tell whether terrorism played any role in the incident.
The flight was scheduled to depart LAX at 8:30 a.m. and arrive at New York’s JFK airport at 4:50 p.m.
“No criminal charges are anticipated and the plane will depart to New York as soon as the searches/screening process is concluded,” according to FBI spokesperson Laura Eimiller.