A 55 year-old man has been sucked out of a Daallo Airlines Flight A321 to Djibouti which took off from Mogadishu airport in Somalia. That’s not an opening paragraph you read every day. Passengers reported hearing a loud explosion moments before the 55 year-old man identified as Abdullahi Abdisalam Borle was dragged out by the pressure differential. He had been brought aboard in a wheel chair and was seated over the right wing. Which is fortunate. Any further forward the debris could have damaged the engine. Further back and the explosion may have affected the horizontal stabiliser.
While two passengers were slightly hurt, there were no other casualties. Which is a miracle, really. It’s now reported that the most likely cause of the decompression was a small explosive device. And the finger is being pointed at Borle. He may have been the victim of the wrong time wrong place syndrome.
Authorities in Mogadishu announced formally on Saturday 6th February that the blast was caused by a bomb which they say Borle was carrying hidden inside a laptop. The force punched a one-metre-sized hole in the side of the aircraft. What we know for sure is that a one-metre wide hole is all you need to suck a man out of a plane.
While Al Shabaab has said nothing, the signs are there that this flight was targeted. Is it a co-incidence that Somalia’s UN ambassador, Awale Kullane, was on board the plane?
The license for the route is held by Turkish Airlines. But citing “a technical problem” TA suddenly pulled its planes from Somalia the day before the blast and Daallo Airlines was duly installed. Passengers were told they’d meet up with Turkish Airlines in Djibouti. This is no co-incidence. Turkish Airlines has been flying to Somalia daily for years.
So how much did authorities in Turkey know? Was Daallo Airlines aware of said threat? And the flight crew aboard. What an interesting lot. The pilot – a 64 year-old Serbian Pilot Vladimir Vodopivec. He performed his role perfectly and must be lauded for bringing everyone but Borle back alive.
With Moscow now firmly one of Ankara’s sworn enemies, and a Russian plane bombed out of the sky over Egypt, there are some who think think there’s more to this story than meets the eye. Al Shabaab’s silence can either be explained by being embarrassed by failure, or because someone else planted the bomb.
Where was Borle going? Why was he in a wheel chair? What device was he carrying? Did he know that the laptop contained a bomb? If he was a bomber why did he make the mistake of pulling the pin at 14000 feet instead of 33000 feet where the pressure differential would have probably torn the plane apart. Or not?
What we can say with certainty too is that the Airbus airframe held together in a remarkable way despite the explosion and a hole torn in the fuselage. There is also something really sinister about the count-down form in the name of the flight: