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British Airways Probes Alarm That Warned 747 to Ditch

British Airways Plc is investigating an incident in which an emergency alarm was sounded in the cabin of a Boeing Co. 747 warning passengers that the jumbo jet was about to make an emergency landing on water.

The button that played the message on the flight from London to Hong Kong on Aug. 24 can be activated in a number of ways, but isn’t accessible to pilots in the cockpit, British Airways spokesman Richard Goodfellow said today in an e-mail.

“Our cabin crew immediately made an announcement following the message advising customers that it was played in error and that the flight would continue as normal,” he said.

London-based British Airways is looking into exactly what happened and apologizes to passengers for causing “undue distress,” he said.

In a separate incident, London’s Heathrow airport closed this afternoon after a British Airways flight from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, developed a “minor technical fault” which caused emergency services to attend as the plane came in to land, spokeswoman Victoria Madden said by telephone.

The plane was taken to the carrier’s engineering base after passengers had alighted and the airport is now open as usual, owner BAA Ltd. said.

The website records that the Jeddah service was operated by a Boeing 767 and arrived 30 minutes late.

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