An explosion ripped a hole through the fuselage of Daallo Airlines Flight D3159 just minutes after takeoff. (Photo: AP)
It’s like something out of a horror movie: A passenger caught fire and was sucked out of a hole in the side of an airplane at 14,000 feet.
Hassan Mohamed Nur, a survivor on that Daallo Airlines Flight D3159 from Mogadishu to Djibouti, told the Daily Mail: “I saw the passenger, a man in his early 60s, get sucked out of the plane. There was a huge bang. A big hole appeared in the side of the jet and the elderly passenger disappeared through it. One minute he was sat in his seat; the next he was gone. He’d been sucked out of the plane. People were screaming. We all thought we were going to die.”
Nur also reported that the man caught fire before he was sucked from his seat, and eerily, the burned body of an elderly man was found in Balad, 18 miles from Mogadishu. It’s uncertain whether this was the same man.
The Airbus 321 took off from Mogadishu airport on its way to Djibouti, and within five minutes, a blast ripped a hole in the fuselage measuring 6 feet by 3 feet. Officials do not yet know the cause of the explosion, though the aircraft’s pilot was quoted as saying, “I think it was a bomb. Luckily, the flight controls were not damaged so I could return and land at the airport.”
A passenger reported that an elderly man was torn from his seat and sucked out the hole in the side of the aircraft. (Photo: Awale Kullane via AP)
Apart from the elderly man who fell from the plane, only one other passenger was injured — a Finnish man who is reported to be in stable condition.
Seventy-four passengers we on board, including Awale Kullane, Somalia’s deputy ambassador to the U.N. He said on Facebook that he “heard a loud noise and couldn’t see anything but smoke for a few seconds.” He also posted a video — taken minutes after the explosion, as passengers sat terrified, some with oxygen masks on — but it has since been removed from his page.
Somalia is dealing with an insurgency by the Somali Islamic extremist group al-Shabaab, which has been responsible for many deadly attacks over the years.