Pilot mistakenly pushes alarm button, triggers Saudia plane lockdown

A Saudia Airlines passenger plane was placed on lockdown for nearly two hours at a Philippine airport on Tuesday after its pilot mistakenly pushed an emergency button before landing, officials said.

Authorities at Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport dispatched armed security teams and emergency units to surround the Boeing 777-300 plane after receiving a distress signal indicating a hijacking incident.

But police said the pilot admitted that he pushed the emergency button by mistake, according to Chief Superintendent Oscar Albayalde, director of metropolitan Manila's police force.

"The situation is now normal," he said. "Allegedly, the pilot pushed the emergency button of the aircraft by mistake."

Albayalde said the plane's passenger was allowed to disembark after security teams confirmed the distress call was a false alarm.

"Twenty miles before landing, the Manila International Airport Authorities received advise from the Manila control tower that Saudia Airlines flight SV 872 is under threat," airport authorities said in a statement earlier.

Television footage had shown the plane, reportedly carrying around 300 people, surrounded by dozens of security vehicles and officers armed with high-powered firearms at an isolated area of the runway at Manila's airport.

The flight had departed from Jeddah with passengers who were reportedly returning from attending a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, according to ABS-CBN News Channel.

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Saudia Airlines flight on lockdown in Manila after security threat

Security teams have surrounded a Saudia Airlines passenger plane at Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport after a warning the plane was facing an unspecified threat, airport authorities say.

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Last update: Tue, 20/09/2016 - 12:07
Last update: Tue, 20/09/2016 - 12:07
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