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Jet halted at LAX; two men are removed by police [Updated]

A plane was stopped from taking off from Los Angeles International Airport, and two men on board were taken into custody, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

LAPD Lt. John Romero said the men, who appeared to be of Middle Eastern descent, were acting suspiciously.

A law enforcement source said at least one of the men ran into a restroom on the plane and appeared to hide while the New York-bound jet was taxiing on the runway, according to the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case was ongoing. 

The flight crew confronted the two men and made the decision to stop the plane before it took off, the source said. The men were taken into custody by heavily armed law enforcement officials.

The plane has been taken to a remote area of the airport to be searched by a bomb squad, sources said.

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.

FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said that she was aware of only one person being detained for questioning after the person failed to comply with airline safety regulations and directions of the crew.

[Updated at 2:10 p.m.: The FBI has determined that the passenger removed from the United Airlines flight this morning posed no “identifiable threat” to the plane or passengers and that no criminal charges are anticipated.

The passenger got up from his seat about 8:30 a.m. to use the restroom and would not comply with the flight crew's instructions to return to his seat, Eimiller said. The captain of the plane then decided to return to the gate so that the incident could be investigated, she said.

“The passenger is being interviewed in connection with the incident and is cooperative,” she said. “Out of an abundance of caution, the passengers and their carry-on luggage were rescreened and the LAPD bomb unit conducted a precautionary search of the aircraft.

"No criminal charges are anticipated, and the passengers will proceed to their destination later today.”

Initially, the LAPD said two men were taken into custody in the incident.]

-- Richard Winton

Comments () | Archives (36)

I was supposed to fly to NY today but am sick. This is scary!

This may sound like a dumb question -- but did the guy who ran into the bathroom have to use the toilet to evacuate his colon or bladder? Given the flight hadn't left the ground the septic system would have been purged of prior flight excrement and urine. So, if this guy indeed, needed to use the toilet, wouldn't his stool or the urine be in the septic system? Alternatively, did was there vomit in the toilet? Sleuth factor, aside, what do we do if we find ourself with a emergent gastrointestinal condition requiring use of toilet facilities during similar circumstances?

While I can comment here that someone running to the bathroom on a plane and locking himself in/hiding during the taxi phase of a flight is not suspicious, but downright scary......what I really want to tell the LA Times staff is:

Why aren't you allowing comments on such stories as the state government "stealing" $450 million from the state recycling fund for other "projects" and to close "budget deficits"? That pales in comparison to when I lived in California (from birth to 1993) and state government touted the new state lottery as a panacea to education -- I think it was "33% of lottery proceeds to benefit education". Within a couple of years, state government cut traditional education spending by that same percentage -- a typical "bait-and-switch" ploy.

Why doesn't some true reporter from the Times do some research on how the state has tricked the people year after year with this type of tactic?

Great, more Muslim nonsense.

Sounds like racial profiling.

Here we goes again. It must be tough for person of Middle Eastern descent to travel in the U.S.

Hope he didnt have a violent stomach bug, I remember a woman nearly being thrown off a southest flight for running to the bathroom when seatbelt sign was on

I'm on the East Coast, why hasn't this broken over here?

We need MORE racial profiling! The middle easterners/Muslims are testing us to see what they can get away with, then they ultimately will hatch some kind of plot in which they will murder as many innocent Americans as possible. We need more racial profiling...profiling and studying HARD these people, as they are the ones all across the world doing incidents of terror. Give Obama carte blanche to do whatever is needed to reign in these nuts.

Appeared to be of Middle Eastern decent, huh?? Yeeahh, they're guilty.

I know I wouldnt get on a NY bound flight with middle eastern dudes onboard

All booga booga all the time. Yet another false flag. Duhmerica, ain't it grand!

But but but Obama says there's no such thing as terror or terrorists, so why would anyone find these 2 men suspicious???

land of the free???? you can't even be brown while flying. bwahahahahhahhaha

Thanks to the FBI and LAPD for possibly saving many lives!

Well then they must have been terrorist. the guy had to relive himself or maybe they are planning retirement.

Maybe he just had the runs?


Oh, people - this comment has to be "approved" by PC imbeciles, so it won't be posted. That's a no-brainer. Hi! You PC Imbeciles, Slaves to the male Islamic Barbarians.

Seems like there are an unusually high number of these arrests been made throughout the country recently, such as the Denver man arrested and charged with bombings in NYC, the terror cell in North Carolina and and similar incidents in several other locales across the US.

Glad to see the FBI coordinating so well with local law enforcement officials...keep up the great work folks and thank you for keeping us safe!!

I certainly hope there was more "suspicious" activity involved than running to the restroom (and appearing to be of Middle Eastern descent).

Another "terrorist" headline to keep the fear in Americans. All these terror headline lately are to make sure we (americans) do not forget "terrorist" are one the loose (HA).


9/11 was an inside job!!

Mike, you are an idiot.

Like the earlier incident a few years ago, these people are pushing the envelope, trying to see what they can get away with, making trial runs with a view to killing Americans.

Poor "Mike" - A "Truther."

Which means that, like Van Jones, he's an utter and complete idiot.

Newsflash, Mike - the Islamic Barbarians are responsible for the 3,000 Americans mass-murdered on September 11, 2001.

People - don't bother to write comments here, they have to be 'approved" by PC MoonBat Imbeciles. My God, the stupidity. Such as "Mike." Go live in Yemen, Mike, you don't deserve to live in the United States.

I fly a lot, and I see many situations developing that some may consider "suspicious." Whether someone running to the bathroom while the plane is taxiing is potential "terrorism" is a tough call, and if I were a passenger on the plane, I think I'd rather suffer the inconvenience of the delay than take a chance that such behavior is more than someone needing to use the bathroom really bad. As long as we sell alcohol on the premises of our airports (I'm not opposed to it), we will have people who have too much to drink and then act stupidly. It causes us all inconvenience, but given what we know about the security seive that is TSA, I support the captain and crew in their assessment of the situation as it unfolded.

I also agree that we spend too much ink and press on these incidents, and that tends to keep the fear level much higher than is good for us. Fear is what allows terrorists to succeed, and it allows dictators to take control. Vigilance is good, fear is not.


You get up and go to the Loo while the plane is taxiing - and refuse to return to your seat in a prompt and orderly fashion - you're damn right you're in trouble. You're lucky you didn't get your ass beat by passengers, but I guess they were too busy sitting on their brains.

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