An explosion suspected to have been a bomb tore a hole in the side of a Daallo Airlines commercial jet, with reports that the burning body of a passenger was ejected out of the opening.
Eyewitnesses claim the badly burned body of an elderly man fell from the plane about 25kms away from Mogadishu airport.
“The passenger plane made an emergency landing soon after it took off on Tuesday, and there was a damage on one side of the aircraft over the right wing,” Somali police officer Mohamed Ise said.
I think it was a bomb. Luckily, the flight controls were not damaged so I could return and land at the airport.
Photographs show a large hole, about a metre in diameter ripped in the side the plane just above the engines on the right wing, with streaks of soot on the plane.
When the plane landed back at Mogadishu International Airport, about 75 people were evacuated and there were only two minor injuries among the remaining passengers.
“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.”
While the official cause of the explosion is unknown, initial tests of the damage on Flight D3159 came back positive for explosive residue, a source said, although no group has taken responsibility.
Al-Shabaab has been behind some of the worst violence in recent years in and around Somalia, with the most recent being a deadly attack on a beach side restaurant-hotel complex in Mogadishu.