Manila: A Saudi Arabian passenger plane, with 300 persons on-board, created fears of a hijack on Tuesday here as the pilot mistakenly made a distress call. The plane from Jeddah, which landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, was held in isolation, according to local media reports.
Before landing, the plane’s pilots reportedly told the Manila control tower that the plane was ‘under threat’ and asked for emergency assistance, saying ‘Emergency 4,’ a code that could mean possible hijacking in airline jargon, Xinhua news agency reported.
The alarm followed the pilot having reportedly pressed a hijack ‘panic button’ twice. According to CNN Philippines, the control tower received a warning 32 kms before flight landed that it was under threat. The passengers of Saudi Arabian Airlines flight SV 872, which took off from Jeddah shortly before midnight, later went through security checks as a matter of routine.
Most of the passengers on the flight are believed to have been returning from the annual Hajj pilgrimage.