4 passengers removed from Chicago-bound flight in Baltimore, officials say

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Four people were removed from a Chicago-bound flight in Baltimore early Tuesday after a passenger reported suspicious behavior, including watching videos on a phone, as the plane taxied on the runway, officials said.

A woman and three men, who other passengers said appeared to be of Middle Eastern decent, were later released and cleared of wrong-doing, officials said. The videos were news.

Spirit Airlines Flight 969 was taxiing at Baltimore- Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport when the flight crew decided to return to the gate, according to Maryland officials.
Passenger Jenna Farella said she was terrified after a woman sitting behind her jumped up and ran with her child to the back of the plane. Flight attendants ordering her to sit down.

"I literally thought the plane was going to blow up," she said. "It was the scariest moment of my life."

All passengers were removed from the plane, but took off three hours later at 9 a.m. after Transportation Security Administration officials cleared the plane and luggage.
"Then they finally came on and said we all have to deplane because we have to sweep plane," said Frank Sheffield, who was aboard the flight. "And they said there was a credible security threat."

Passengers reported that the flight was about half-full. Some passengers were put on other flights so they wouldn't miss connections in Chicago.

Spirit Airlines passengers who arrived late to O'Hare were a little frazzled, but relieved.

"I'd rather be late to Chicago than not get to Chicago," one passenger said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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