At least two passengers were removed from an LAX flight bound for New York's Kennedy Airport after a man insisted on using the restroom just before takeoff.
According to LAX spokesperson Nancy Castles and passengers, United Flight 22 was preparing for takeoff when a passenger said he needed to use the restroom. An attendant asked the passenger to sit but he refused.
The attendant considered the passenger's behavior suspicious and alerted the captain. The plane returned to the gate.
Authorities removed two men and took them into custody, according to LAPD spokesperson Lt. John Romero. Passengers reported a third person was removed as well.
Passenger Charlie Rosene was seated two rows behind a passenger that was removed from the plane.
"I was sitting in Row 25, the first guy who was taken off was in Row 23," said Rosene at about 11:30 a.m. "It was 30 seconds before takeoff, and he jumped out of his seat and said, 'I need to go to the bathroom. I need to go to the bathroom.' The flight attendant called that out and saw that as a red flag. He said, 'I'm going.'"
Rosene said the passenger was in the restroom for about 30 seconds. He said the man returned to his seat.
The plane was later moved to a second gate where the pilot told passengers they would be rescreened as a precaution.
The FBI, which is investigating the case, released a statement Monday afternoon.
"A passenger did not comply with airline regulations,'' said the FBI's Laura Eimiller. "The captain of the plane made a discretionary decision to delay departure to that the situation involving the passenger could be investigated.
"There is currently no identifiable threat to the plane or to the passengers. The passenger is being interviewed in connection with the incident, and is cooperative.
"Out of an abundance of caution, the passengers and their carry-on luggage are being re-screened, and the LAPD Bomb Unit has conducted a precautionary search of the aircraft. No criminal charges are anticipated, and the plane will depart to New York as soon as the searches/screening process is concluded."
The plane departed for New York at 12:30 p.m., said Katherine Alvarado of LAX, after a re-screening process was concluded and the plane checked out.