Explosion forces plane to make emergency landing in Somalia

MOGADISHU, Somalia -- An explosion and fire blew a gaping hole in a commercial airliner, forcing it to make an emergency landing at Mogadishu's international airport late Tuesday, officials and witnesses said.

See Full Article

The pilot said he thought it was a bomb. An aviation expert who looked at photographs of the hole in the fuselage said the damage was consistent with an explosive device.

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. It was not certain if all the passengers were accounted for.

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.

"I think it was a bomb," said the Serbian pilot, Vladimir Vodopivec, who was quoted by Belgrade daily Blic. "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," the 64-year-old pilot said.

Awale Kullane, Somalia's deputy ambassador to the U.N. 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 realized "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. The post was later removed from his Facebook page.

"We don't know a lot, but certainly it looks like a device," said John Goglia, a former member of the U.S. National Transportation Safety and aviation safety expert. There are only two things that could have caused a hole in the plane that looks like the one in photos circulated online -- a bomb or a pressurization blowout caused by a flaw or fatigue in the plane's skin, said Goglia.

The photos appear to show black soot around the aircraft skin that is peeled back, said Goglia. A pressurization blowout wouldn't create soot, but a bomb would, he said.

Also, information about the event posted online indicate it took place during the takeoff phase of flight before the plane reached 30,000 feet (9,144 metres), where there is maximum pressurization, Goglia said. That makes the case for a pressurization blowout even less likely, he said.

Another passenger, Mohamed Ali, told The Associated Press that he and others 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.

Although the Somali aviation official said that there were only two injuries, there were unverified reports that a person fell out of the hole. 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 kilometres (about 18 miles) north of Mogadishu.

On Dec. 11, 1994, a bomb blew a 2-foot (0.61-meter) hole in the floor leading to the cargo hold of a Philippine Airlines jetliner with 293 people aboard, but the pilot was able to make a safe emergency landing. One passenger was killed and 10 others were injured on the Manila-to-Japan flight.

The plane was flying at about 33,000 feet (10,058 metres) when the blast occurred. The flight landed about an hour later at Naha airport on Okinawa in southern Japan.

Ramzi Yousef, who was sentenced to life in prison for the Feb. 26, 1993 World Trade Center bombing in New York, was convicted in the bombing of the Philippine Airlines flight.

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

------

AP writers Dusan Stojanovic in Belgrade and Joan Lowy in Washington contributed to this report



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Trump's 'big, beautiful' border wall faces many roadblocks

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump has now laid out exactly what he wants in the "big, beautiful wall" that he's promised to build on the U.S.-Mexico border. But his effort to build a huge hurdle to those entering the U.S. Source
  • German minister 'speechless' over Erdogan rhetoric

    World News CTV News
    BERLIN -- A senior German official says Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's rhetoric in the standoff with European countries ahead of his country's April 16 referendum is causing damage that will take years to repair. Source
  • Russian opposition leader arrested amid wave of corruption protests

    World News CTV News
    MOSCOW -- Thousands of people crowded into Moscow's Pushkin Square on Sunday for an unsanctioned protest against the Russian government, part of a wave of demonstrations taking place throughout the country. Alexei Navalny, the anti-corruption campaigner who is leading the opposition to President Vladimir Putin, was arrested while walking from a nearby subway station to the demonstration, according to Associated Press journalists at the scene. Source
  • Syrian opposition urges U.S. to spare Raqqa civilians

    World News CTV News
    BEIRUT -- A leading Syrian opposition group is calling on the U.S.-led coalition to stop targeting residential areas in and around Raqqa, the Islamic State group's de facto capital. The Syrian National Coalition says it is "increasingly concerned" about civilian casualties in the campaign against the extremist group. Source
  • China-friendly Carrie Lam chosen as Hong Kong leader

    World News CTV News
    HONG KONG -- The candidate favoured by China's Communist leadership was chosen as Hong Kong's new leader on Sunday, in the first such vote since huge pro-democracy protests erupted over the semiautonomous Chinese city's election system in 2014. Source
  • Cincinnati, Ohio nightclub shooting leaves 1 dead, 14 wounded

    World News CBC News
    Fifteen people were shot, one fatally, at a packed nightclub in Cincinnati, Ohio, early on Sunday. The shooting took place around 1 a.m. when hundreds of people were reported to be at the Cameo Nightlife club, which the Cincinnati Police Department said has had "multiple problems" in the past. Source
  • Dozens detained in anti-corruption protests across Russia

    World News CBC News
    Several dozen people were detained in protests across Russia on Sunday, after the opposition urged people to take to the streets to demonstrate against corruption and demand the resignation of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said on his website that more than 80 towns and cities across Russia would hold protests on Sunday and that authorities had not sanctioned the majority of the rallies. Source
  • Grenade attack leaves 4 dead, many wounded in Philippines

    World News CTV News
    JOLO, Philippines -- At least four people were killed and 23 others wounded in a grenade attack in the southern Philippines that appears to be unrelated to terrorism, officials said Sunday. Army Col. Cirilito Sobejana said the attacker was arrested following the late Saturday grenade blast in Busbus village near the domestic airport in Sulu province's Jolo town. Source
  • 1 dead, 14 injured in Cincinnati nightclub shooting

    World News CTV News
    CINCINNATI -- At least two people opened fire inside a crowded nightclub early Sunday morning, killing one person and wounding more than a dozen others in what authorities described as a chaotic scene. It was not clear what prompted the shooting at the Cameo club about 1:30 a.m. Source
  • Encrypted social media 'secret place for terrorists' to communicate, U.K. minister says

    World News CBC News
    British interior minister Amber Rudd said on Sunday end-to-end encryption of messages offered by services like Whatsapp are "completely unacceptable" and there should be no "secret place for terrorists to communicate." Khalid Masood drove a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge last Wednesday, killing four people and wounding several others. Source