Saudia pilot mistakenly activates hijack alarm in Philippines

A Saudi Arabian pilot triggered a major security response at Manila airport on Tuesday, when he accidentally pressed a hijack alarm.

Philippines police cornered the Saudia flight after it landed since one of its pilots issued a distress signal indicating a hijack was underway.

Hundreds of passengers aboard the Boeing 777 flight were forced to remain on the plane for more than two hours.

They were allowed to get off the plane at about 5:00pm after it was confirmed there was no threat.

Authorities at Manila control tower obtained a verbal confirmation from the pilot that he had triggered the hijack alert.

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“It was only after the plane was parked for some time that he said it was a false alarm,” Manila Aviation police reported.

The Philippines’ aviation authority said in a statement the distress signal pressed by the pilot alerted authorities “that a hijacking incident is on progress on board”.

“Immediately the flight was given priority landing by airport authorities… and was directed to park on the remote bay and isolated for security procedures,” the statement said.

“Appropriate penalties and sanctions will be imposed on the erring pilot if the result is indeed a human error,” it said.

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Well, airliners do not have hijack alarm that can be activated by pressing something.

You have to turn knobs and set 7500 on the transponder.

Here is an example of how it happens: When a pilot is told to squawk a code like 6204 and it was set at 1500 to start.

He starts turning the first number and instead of turning it toward 2 he goes the other direction and hits 7 before he hits 6.

This is something airline pilots try to avoid. There are a few other codes pilots also try to avoid squawking by accident.

We shudder to think what the pilot’s punishment will be. We’re guessing it will involve a sharp set of pruning shears.