According to passenger Jenni Clemons, she notified the flight attendant that another person, Sylvia Rictor, was in her seat and was refusing to move.
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"She said very bluntly, 'I'm not moving,'" Clemons told WFTV.
When the flight attendant was unable to remove Rictor from the seat, the attendant called for assistance from a supervisor and a pilot, who were also unable to immediately remove Rictor. The employees asked Rictor for her plane boarding pass several times.
"Who knows where I threw it. I just threw it out a soon as I got on the plane," Rictor said, according to Clemons.
When employees asked Rictor for a form of identification, she showed them a picture of herself on her phone.
"Ma'am, that's not a government-issued ID. That's a photo,” the unidentified flight attendant is quoted as saying to Rictor, who responded, “Well, this is just as good.""
According to the passenger, Rictor, while cursing at the flight crew was eventually dragged off the plane by Delta personnel. It took about 45 minutes for employees to get Rictor off the plane.
"They eventually told her, 'You're breaking federal law,'" Clemons told WFTV.
After Clemons got situated in her seat, the plane began taxiing down the runway. However, moments later the plane stopped and returned to the gate.
"We were stopped pretty quickly, and the pilot explained it was because the lady was not cooperating with TSA [Transportation Security Administration], and she did not have a ticket to any airline at all," Clemons said. "They could not figure out how she even got on the plane."
All of the passengers were forced to deboard the plane and rescreened everyone as well as their luggage. TSA agents and canines also extensively searched the plane.
In a statement to ABC News, a Delta spokesperson confirmed that the airline is “working with local law enforcement and the Transportation Security Administration on their investigation and we are conducting our own review of this as well. Safety and security is always our top priority." Delta did not immediately respond to Sputnik’s request for comment.
A TSA spokesperson also confirmed to the New York Post that it is working with law enforcement to investigate the incident.
The FBI has also been notified of the incident.