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.

In depth coverage

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.

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

More from World

Western arms firms keep lead role in global sales

Defence firms in the United States and Western Europe dominated global arms sales in 2015, but sales by companies in...

Trump's talk with Taiwan leader only a "courtesy call," Pence says

US vice president-elect Mike Pence on Sunday brushed off the uproar surrounding Donald Trump's telephone...

Uzbekistan's Mirziyoyev, likely successor of deceased longtime ruler

Shavkat Mirziyoyev, prime minister of the authoritarian, former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan for 13 years and...

30 bodies recovered from wreckage of California warehouse fire

The number of confirmed dead in a California warehouse fire has risen to 30, investigators said after recovering...

US releases another Guantanamo Bay prisoner, leaving 59 at facility

The United States has released a detainee from its prison at Guantanamo Bay, leaving 59 prisoners at the Cuban...