Commercial plane lands with gaping hole after explosion

Commercial plane lands with gaping hole after explosion
An explosion and fire onboard a commercial jet forced a passenger plane to make an emergency landing in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Tuesday according to officials.
2 min read
03 February, 2016
The explosion left a gaping hole in the fuselage [Anadolu]

A commercial airliner made an emergency landing at Mogadishu's international airport late on Tuesday after passengers heard a loud bang and a fire broke out on board, leaving a gaping hole in the fuselage, officials and witnesses said.

Two people were slightly injured as 74 passengers and crew of the plane were evacuated after the plane made a safe landing, Somali aviation official Ali Mohamoud said.

The plane, operated by Daallo Airlines and headed to Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, was forced to land minutes after taking off from the Mogadishu airport, said Mohamoud.

Awale Kullane, Somalia's alternate ambassador to the UN who was on board the flight, said on Facebook that he "heard a loud noise and couldn't see anything but smoke for a few seconds."

When visibility returned they realised "quite a chunk" of the plane was missing, he wrote.

Kullane, who was going to Djibouti to attend a conference for diplomats, also posted a video showing some passengers putting on oxygen masks inside the plane.

Another passenger, Mohamed Ali, said passengers heard a bang before flames opened a gaping hole in the plane's side.

"I don't know if it was a bomb or an electric shock, but we heard a bang inside the plane," he said, adding he could not confirm reports that passengers had fallen from the plane.

Mohamed Hassan, a police officer in nearby Balad town, said residents had found the dead body of an old man who might have fallen from a plane.

Balad is an agricultural town 30 kilometers (about 18 miles) north of Mogadishu.

Somalia faces an insurgency perpetrated by the Somali extremist group al-Shabab, which is responsible for many deadly attacks across the nation.

Islamic State group militants took responsibility for an explosion that brought down a Russian passenger plane in Egypt's Sinai peninsula last October killing 224 people.