WASHINGTON, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Four passengers were removed from a Spirit Airlines Inc flight at Baltimore's airport on Tuesday after "suspicious activity" aboard the plane, the airline said.
Spirit Airlines Flight 969 from Baltimore-Washington International Airport to Chicago O'Hare International Airport was halted just before takeoff, Spirit said in a statement.
"While the aircraft was taxiing to the runway, a passenger alerted a flight attendant of a passenger engaged in suspicious activity on board," it said.
The flight attendant notified the captain and the plane returned to the gate.
Police took four passengers off the flight. All passengers were deplaned and the aircraft and luggage cleared, it said.
WJLA television in Washington reported that the four passengers appeared to be in their early 30s and of Middle Eastern ancestry. They were carrying several backpacks.
A woman got up and went to the back of the plane with a small child as the plane was preparing for takeoff, said WJLA, an ABC affiliate.
First Sergeant Jonathan Green of the Maryland Transportation Authority police said three men and one woman was taken off the flight. One of the four had been questioned and released, he said.
Flight tracking website FlightAware.com said the plane took off at 9:27 a.m. EST (1427 GMT), about 3-1/2-hours late. (Reporting by Ian Simpson and John Clarke in Washington and Jeffrey Dastin in New York; Editing by Alistair Bell)