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'False alarm' triggers Saudi plane scare in Manila

September 20, 2016

A Saudi Airlines jet had been surrounded at a secluded runway in Manila after a warning on approach that it faced an emergency threat. The plane's crew later said the distress call was a mistake.

Philippinen Fehlalarm Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo

Manila airport suffered a serious security scare on Tuesday after the crew of a Saudi Airlines plane mistakenly pushed the emergency button, triggering a security alert.

Airport officials at Ninoy Aquino International said in a statement that they had received information of a threat when the plane was 30 miles (48 kilometers) away from landing. The threat was widely believed to have been a hijacking incident.

According to Manila's airport manager, Eddie Monreal, the pilot later told the control tower that a button indicating a hijack situation had been pushed by accident.

Philippinen Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport
Image: Imago/Kyodo News

Flight SV872 was isolated by airport security on Runway 6 upon landing. Passengers were prevented from disembarking for more than one hour.

The plane was travelling from the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah to Manila.

dm/msh (dpa, Reuters, AP)