Saudia pilot triggers false alarm in Philippines: authorities

Manila, Sep 20 (AFP) The pilot of a Saudi ArabianAirlines flight accidentally pressed an emergency alarm,creating a hijack scare and triggering a major securityresponse at Manila airport today, authorities said. Police and security personnel surrounded the Saudiaflight from Jeddah after it landed this afternoon following areport 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 abouttwo hours, but were let off about 5:00 pm (1430 IST) after itwas confirmed there was no threat. "Situation is normal. It was alleged that the pilotpressed the emergency light of the aircraft unintentionally,"Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde told reporters. In Saudi Arabia, an airline spokesman also told AFP thatthere was no security threat. "False alarm for hijack for Flight 872," the spokesmansaid. Manila airport spokesman Connie Bungag earlier released astatement saying the control tower received advice that theplane was "under threat" as it was 32 kilometres from landing. She said authorities had implemented standard securityoperating procedures. The carrier is known as Saudia. (AFP)SAI

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