A passenger was sucked out of a gaping hole in an airliner after an explosion from a possible bomb rocked the jet 10,000 feet over Somalia yesterday.
The charred remains of the tragic flier were discovered in a town north of Mogadishu after the blast forced the Daallo Airlines Airbus A321 to make an emergency landing in Mogadishu, according to CNN.
The explosion took place shortly after takeoff as the plane, en route to Djibouti was ascending to 30,000 feet.
When it landed back at Mogadishu International Airport, about 75 people were evacuated and there only two minor injuries among the remaining passengers.
As officials tried to account for all of the people on board, reports from a small town north of Mogadishu said a person may have been sucked from the jet in the apparent blast.
A police officer in the town of Balad said residents found the body of an elderly man whom they suspect fell from the aircraft.
Later on, Somali authorities confirmed to CNN that one passenger had been blown or ejected from the hole created by the explosion.
“The missing one is reported to have been fallen and found in Bal’ad district in middle Shabelle region,” officials said at a news conference in Mogadishu.
The explosion jarred passengers and forced the pilot to make a dramatic descent as panic ensued.
“I think it was a bomb,” said the pilot, Vladimir Vodopivec. “Luckily, the flight controls were not damaged so I could return and land at the airport. We lost pressure in the cabin. Thank God it ended well.”
An aviation expert, a former member of the US National Transportation Safety Board, said that given the extent of the damage, it appeared a “device” blew the hole in the fuselage.
“We don’t know a lot, but certainly it looks like a device,” said the aviation-safety expert, John Goglia.
There are only two things that could have caused a hole in the jet that looks like the one in photos circulated online — a bomb or a pressurization blowout caused by a flaw in the plane’s skin, said Goglia.
A Somali UN diplomat on board the flight posted cellphone video on Facebook that showed passengers donning oxygen masks as the jet descended.
The envoy, Awale Kullane, said he “heard a loud noise and couldn’t see anything but smoke for a few seconds.”
Another passenger said that he and others heard a bang before flames opened a gaping hole.
“I don’t know if it was a bomb or an electric shock, but we heard a bang inside the plane,” Mohamed Ali said.