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Somali Authorities Believe Body Fell From Plane After Explosion

In this photo taken Feb. 2, 2016, a hole is seen in a plane operated by Daallo Airlines as it sits on the runway of the airport in Mogadishu, Somalia.

Somali authorities have found the body of a missing passenger from a plane that made an emergency landing at Mogadishu airport after a blast ripped a hole through it Tuesday.

Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Ali Ahmed Jama “Jangali” told VOA Somali that the body of the person, found near the town of Bal’ad, is in the hands of the investigators.

He said it will take days to determine what caused the explosion on the plane, operated by Daallo Airlines, that was carrying 81 people.

Meanwhile, passengers praised the pilot and the crew for saving their lives.

Ahmed Elmi Muhumed, a Somali official who was on the plane, told VOA's Somali service that the crew immediately evacuated the passengers sitting near the hole, helped them put on oxygen masks and assured them there would be a safe landing.

“The pilot and crew have done a wonderful job by communicating effectively,” he said.

Muhumed said the explosion occurred 10-15 minutes after take-off. He said that air that was coming into the plane through the hole but the airliner did not dive or lose balance.

Another passenger on the plane said he felt the lights “flickered” seconds before the explosion.

According to sources the explosion occurred at row 16. The person who was ejected out of the plane after the blast was sitting in seat number 16F.

The airline said most of the passengers were transferred by Turkish Airlines which cancelled flights to Mogadishu two days ago.

Turkish Airlines gave a brief statement to VOA Somali which read: “"Our relevant flights have been cancelled due to operational reasons required in the framework of bad weather conditions."

After the plane landed, Muhumed said, the passengers clapped and congratulated the pilot and crew.

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