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4 passengers taken from plane and questioned in case of jitters in Baltimore

In a case of apparent jitters over a possible terrorist attack, four passengers were taken off a Spirit Airlines flight in Maryland after another passenger reported suspicious activity, but the group was later released without charges, officials said Tuesday.

The scare comes amid heightened security concerns in the wake of last week's attacks in Paris that killed 129 people.

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The four passengers had been on Spirit Airlines Flight 969 bound from Baltimore-Washington International Airport for Chicago. The quartet was questioned and released, said 1st Sgt. Jonathan Green of the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, which handles security at the airport.

"We're looking at a see-something, say-something situation," Green said by telephone.

One passenger saw one of the group looking at a media report on a smartphone and thought it was suspicious so she told a flight attendant, who told the captain, Green said.

Flight 969 was on the runway when the captain decided to return to the gate, Spirit Airlines spokesman Stephen Schuler said in a statement.

After the three men and one women were taken off of the plane, "the remaining passengers on the aircraft deplaned for a time as the TSA rescreened the aircraft and luggage," Schuler said.

David Rocca, a passenger on the flight, told the Associated Press that two men and a woman were taken off the flight first and that they took their carry-on bags off as well. He said officials returned to remove the fourth person.

"They quietly stood up, removed their bags and followed the two officers off the plane," Rocca told the AP.

In a separate airline incident on Tuesday, Massachusetts state police said a drunken passenger on a British Airways flight from London to Boston tried to open an exit door on the plane and was restrained.

It was previously reported by the Associated Press that the woman tried to open the cockpit door.

Police said they didn't believe the incident was linked to terrorism.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Twitter: @latimesmuskal

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