Passengers disembark Saudi plane after hijack alarm; pilot pressed 'distress button' by accident

MANILA - Passengers of a Saudi Arabian Airlines jet that landed in Manila have been allowed to disembark, after airport officials determined as a “mistake” distress calls that were made by the plane’s crew.

Mr Eddie Monreal, the airport’s general manager, said the crew had reported minutes before landing that their plane was “under threat”, suggesting a possible hijacking. 

Saudia flight SVA 872 was carrying over 400 passengers, mostly pilgrims from the annual hajj, from Jeddah.

The plane was isolated at the airport and surrounded by security and anti-hijacking units.

Mr Monreal said the pilot apparently pressed the "hijacking button" by accident twice as he was landing the plane.