Captain: Hole Blown In Airbus Believed To Be Bomb Blast
The captain of the Airbus A321 that landed Tuesday with a hole blown out of its side believes a bomb exploded as the jet climbed out of Mogadishu, Somalia. Authorities haven't confirmed the source of the blast, and one passenger is believed to be dead from falling out of the hole. "It was my first bomb; I hope it will be the last," Vlatko Vodopivec told The Associated Press. The Daallo Airlines jet, headed for Djibouti to the northwest, was at about 11,000 feet and climbing to 30,000 feet when a blast opened the side of the cabin, he said. "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," he told the AP. The aircraft's systems were normal so he was able to return to Mogadishu. "It would have been much worse if we were higher," he said.
A man's body was found north of Mogadishu, but his identity hasn't been confirmed, the AP reported. Somalian authorities are investigating. The CEO of Daallo, Mohammed Ibrahim Yassin, acknowledged the possibility of a bomb. "At this stage, everything is possible. We cannot rule out anything at this stage," he told the AP. Seventy-four passengers were reported to have been on the airliner, which Daallo says was operated by Hermes Airlines of Greece. Two passengers were treated for minor injuries. Cellphone videos following the blast showed oxygen masks deployed above all the seats in the cabin and donned by passengers as air blew into the right side of the aircraft.