Saudia pilot triggers false alarm in Philippines, say authorities

"Situation is normal. It was alleged that the pilot pressed the emergency light of the aircraft unintentionally," Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde told reporters.

By: AFP | Manila | Published:September 20, 2016 4:03 pm
saudi arabian airlines, saudi airlines emergency landing, saudi pilot emergency landing, saudi airlines, manila airport saudi airline, manila airport, world news, indian express Passengers disembark from Saudi Arabian Airlines plane at the parallel runway of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport after it made a distress call shortly before landing Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016 at suburban Pasay city south of Manila, Philippines. (Source: AP)

The pilot of a Saudi Arabian Airlines flight accidentally pressed an emergency alarm, creating a hijack scare and triggering a major security response at Manila airport on Tuesday, authorities said. Police and security personnel surrounded the Saudia flight from Jeddah after it landed this afternoon following a report to the control tower that the plane was “under threat”, a Philippine aviation authority spokesman told AFP.

Passengers were forced to remain on the plane for about two hours, but were let off about 5:00 pm (1430 IST) after it was confirmed there was no threat.

“Situation is normal. It was alleged that the pilot pressed the emergency light of the aircraft unintentionally,” Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde told reporters.

In Saudi Arabia, an airline spokesman also told AFP that there was no security threat.

“False alarm for hijack for Flight 872,” the spokesman said.

Manila airport spokesman Connie Bungag earlier released a statement saying the control tower received advice that the plane was “under threat” as it was 32 kilometres from landing.

She said authorities had implemented standard security operating procedures.

The carrier is known as Saudia.