MANILA, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said on Tuesday that the Saudi Arabian plane that was "isolated" at Manila's international airport was not hijacked, adding that the pilots mistakenly pressed the distress button.
MIAA General Manager Eddie Monreal told a news conference that upon landing, the airline pilots of the SV 872 from Jeddah radioed the control tower saying they made a mistake by pressing the emergency button.
Monreal vowed to throughly investigate the incident which alarmed the 410 passengers, the crew and the airport security personnel.
"There is something that we have to be curious about. That's why we can not just accept the statement of the crew, because this involves security, especially now that terrorism is very rampant," said the official.
The plane landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport around 3 p.m. local time on Tuesday.
A few minutes before landing, the pilot reportedly sent an emergency signal that airport authorities interpreted that the approaching aircraft was "under threat."
Emergency service vehicles and armed airport police scrambled as the plane touched down, escorting the jet to a secure area.
Passengers said they were "shocked" to see armed police from windows.
One female passenger told a TV interview that they were advised to stay calm "because security men will board the plane to check our passports."
She said the passengers remained calm inside the plane until they were told to disembark.
Another female passenger told the same interview that the were subjected to body check before deplaning the plane and were asked to stay at the airport.
"We were told that the pilot wrongly pressed the emergency button," she said.