Friday 28 October 2016

'The crew said they made a mistake' - hijack fears quashed after Saudi Arabian airlines plane left 'isolated' at airport

Published 20/09/2016 | 09:52

A Saudi Arabian Airlines plane was temporarily isolated after landing at Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Tuesday following a false hijack alarm, airline and airport officials said.

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Saudi state television said the incident was over, and passengers could be seen disembarking from flight 872, which was travelling from the Saudi city of Jeddah to Manila.

Earlier, a pilot on board had advised the airport's control tower that the plane was "under threat".

"We instructed (the) aircraft to proceed to (the) isolated area," the airport's general manager Edmund Monreal told reporters.

"It is fortunate that upon landing ... the crew said they made a mistake. However, we can never play around with safety and security."

"It (the button) was unintentionally pushed. But the problem is it was pushed twice."

Monreal added that the plane would be checked thoroughly anyway as a security precaution.

In a text message to Reuters, Roberto Lim, undersecretary for aviation at the Department of Transportation, said police were "still monitoring as to why a hijack signal was issued by the pilot" adding, "persons will be interviewed".

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