Somalia Plane Explosion: Hole Blown In Side Of Plane During Mid-Flight Explosion

A Somalia plane explosion tore a hole in the side of a Daallo Airlines plane. One passenger was sucked out of the hole and fell to his death. The pilot was able to safely land the plane and prevent any further carnage. The possible bomb explosion, which is believed to have caused the hole in the plane, has not yet been deemed an act of terrorism.

During the Somalia plane explosion, the Daallo Airlines crew reportedly jumped into action quickly as smoke filled the cabin of the Boeing 737 and choked passengers. The pilot guided the plane back to the ground at the Mogadishu airport, MSN reports.

The Daallo Airlines captain flying the Somalia plane during the mid-flight explosion, Vlatko Bodopivec, said that he was told by officials with the civil aviation authority that the hole in the side of the plane was caused by a bomb. Earlier today, officials at the agency said they have found no evidence that a bomb or criminal act caused the explosion of the Airbus 321 jetliner. The plane was flying at 11,000 feet when the explosion occurred.

“It was my first bomb; I hope it will be the last,” Bodopivec said. “It would have been much worse if we were higher.”

According to a statement made by a Balad police officer, residents of a rural town about 18 miles north of the Mogadishu airport found the dead body of the man who is believed to have been sucked out the hole in the side of the plane, Fox News reports.

The Daallo Airlines plane was reportedly carrying 74 passengers during the flight that was forced into an emergency landing. All but one of the passengers disembarked safely. The crew included the pilot, an Italian co-pilot, and five stewardesses — two Greek, two Kenyan, and one Bosnian. According to a brief media release issued by Daallo Airlines, the Airbus 321 was operated by Hermes Airlines based out of Athens, Greece. The airline reportedly leases insured planes that are staffed by the company’s crew to other carriers.

Cellphone videos were taken by passengers after the Somalia plane explosion show individuals wearing oxygen masks near the rear of the plane. When the camera angle turns slightly, the hole in the side of the plane is clearly visible as sounds of rushing air are distinctly heard in the background. The video, which is now being widely circulated, was reportedly shot by Awale Kullane, the Somali ambassador to the United Kingdom.

A child wearing an oxygen mask is shown sitting quietly, possibly stunned, in the video. Multiple oxygen masks are shown dangling from the carry-on compartments above where seats once sat by the hole in the side of the Somalia plane.

“When we heard a loud bang, the co-pilot went back to the cabin to inspect the damage and I took over the commands as the procedure demands,” the Daallo pilot also stated when talking to AP reporters. “Smoke came into the cockpit, but it was mostly concentrated in the back of the aircraft. The stewardesses did a great job calming down the passengers and following the emergency procedure.”

Vlatko Bodopivec also added that even after the explosion, the plane’s hydraulic systems and engines thankfully continued to function normally.

The Daallo Airlines plane has now been removed from the runway and placed in a hanger for review. The official investigation into the explosion has been launched, and a preliminary report is expected to be released later this week. The Islamic extremist group al-Shabab continues to pose problems in Somalia and has claimed responsibility for multiple violent and deadly attacks across the country.

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[Photo by AP]