Daallo Airlines, a Somalian regional carrier, was operating flight D3159 from Somalia to Djibouti when a bomb went off 5 minutes after takeoff from Mogadishu Airport, ripping a hole in the side of the fuselage.
Passengers on board the flight reported hearing a loud bang but it wasn't until the smoke cleared that they saw the gaping hole in the fuselage. It was forced to turn around and perform an emergency landing at the Raas Cabaad-based airport, where it was met by emergency crews.
Whilst the plane landed safely, a 55 year old man – who turned out to be the person who brought the bomb on board – was found 19 miles north of the airport. Locals in the area reported seeing someone fall out of the plane at the time of the incident.
The airline's captain and crew are being praised for their efforts in getting the aircraft and all bar one of its 74 passengers and crew on the ground safely. Vladimir Vodopivec, 64, the plane's Serbian pilot, told Blic : "I think it was a bomb."
"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."
According to CNN, initial tests show explosive residue indicating the aircraft may have been the victim of a terrorist attack.
This incident comes less than two weeks after a beach-side restaurant in Mogadishu was targeted by Islamist group Al-Shabaab. Suicide bombers and gunmen attacked the popular hotel restaurant on January 21, killing 20 people.
According to RT.com a week before that attack, the Al-Qaeda-linked militant group claimed responsibility for killing dozens of African Union peacekeepers during a raid on their base in southwestern Somalia.
Al-Shabaab has been blamed for several major terrorist attacks throughout the region, such as the April 2015 assault on Garissa University in Kenya, which killed 148 students.
One year prior to that, Al-Shabaab killed 65 people over a 24-hour period around the Kenyan town Mpeketoni. The group also carried out a raid on Nairobi's Westgate Mall in 2013 which killed 67 people.
The terror group claims it wants to overthrow the Western-backed Somali government.
The investiagtion into this attack continues and all on baord are being questioned.
Daallo Airlines is a Somali-owned airline based at Dubai Airport Free Zone. The airline operates scheduled services in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East and scores a 2/7 on the Airlineratings safety ratings.