Passenger Jet Makes Emergency Landing in Somalia After Onboard Explosion

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Explosion on airliner in Somalia
A view of the plane's interior. Photo: Anadolu Agency/2016 Anadolu Agency

Authorities are trying to determine the cause of an explosion that blew a hole in a Daallo Airlines passenger jet, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing in Mogadishu on Tuesday. The blast occurred shortly after takeoff on a flight headed for Djibouti.

Awale Kullane, Somalia’s ambassador to the United Nations, posted video that shows oxygen masks hanging from overhead and a large hole in the side of the plane. “We just heard a loud noise and couldn’t see anything but smoke for a few seconds, when visibility returned we realized quite a chunk of the plane missing,” he said.

There were 74 people on board, and two were injured. There are reports that locals saw a burned body fall from the plane, but the airline has not confirmed that there were any fatalities.

Pilot Vladimir Vodopivec said he thinks the explosion was caused by a bomb. “Luckily, the flight controls were not damaged so I could return and land at the airport. Something like this has never happened in my flight career. We lost pressure in the cabin. Thank god it ended well,” he said.

No group has claimed responsibility, and Daallo CEO Mohammed Ibrahim Yassin said it’s too early to tell what happened. He acknowledged that some onboard think there was an explosive device on the plane, but he said, “The Civil Aviation (Authority) thinks differently.”