- Saudia Airlines flight SV872 was put in isolation by the aviation authorities on Tuesday because of a hijacking report
- The captain has advised the Manila Control Tower that the aircraft "was under threat"
- Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) officials, on the other hand, said that the incident was a false alarm
Saudia plane with flight SV872 was placed in total isolation at the runway area of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Tuesday, September 20 at around 4:00 pm.
Aviation authorities retained the aircraft carrying 413 passengers away from other planes.
Officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP) aviation security group along with an anti-hijacking unit have been deployed in the area as part of the security protocol.
Executives from the airline were also on-site.
Nevertheless, an airline spokesperson said that the commotion turned out to be a false alarm about a supposed hijacking incident.
Flight 872 was en route to Manila from Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah when the captain told the control tower that the aircraft was “under threat.”
Passengers of the plane who were scheduled to disembark by 2:15 in the afternoon were advised to stay seated. Nothing unordinary was reported to the passenger cabin.
One of the passengers, engineer Macabando who occupied seat 66H, told CNN Philippines that the pilot advised the public address system that the plane needed to be in isolation.
"Twenty miles before landing, MIAA ESD received advise from Manila Control Tower that Saudia Airlines Flight SV872 is under threat," a statement from the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said.
Eddie Villanueva Monreal, MIAA’s General Manager said the pilot pressed the ‘distress’ button by mistake.
"Unintentionally pushed but the problem it was pushed twice," Monreal told the press.
He confirmed that there were no hijackers.
“If we base it on what the captain has said," he furthered.
According to him, officials only followed the protocol after they received the ‘distress’ call including "all supporting agencies were called on the scene."
Princess Habibah Sarip, a news reporter for PTV 4 has also debunked reports of hijacking by posting a live video on Facebook.
"We are sound and safe...sinasabi nila magkakaroon ng inspection, aakyat po ang security na ito to inspect one by one ang ating passengers," Sarip verified.
Meanwhile, the plane will be checked to monitor if anyone from the passengers possessed a weapon or “something inside their personal belongings."
Video from Princess Habibah Sarip/PTV