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Ministry confirms Finn injured in mystery Somali plane blast

Storyline:National News

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Helsinki confirms that  a Finnish man was injured in an unusual air explosion over Somalia on Tuesday.

The Aviation Herald reported that an elderly Finnish man was severely burned when a mysterious blast blew a hole in the fuselage of a passenger plane that had just taken off from the capital Mogadishu.

The plane returned to the airport for an emergency landing. Several people reported injured, while one man was sucked out of the hole in the plane and found dead on the ground. The Finn is now in stable condition at a Mogadishu hospital. The cause of the explosion remains unclear.

Ministry: Avoid Somalia

Teemu Turunen, director of the ministry’s Unit for Consular Assistance, says the patient is in stable condition.

“Together with the man, his relatives and doctors, we’re now considering how he can next be helped. Assistance is made difficult by the fact that Finland does not have an official representation in Somalia. Our embassy in Nairobi handles matters there.”

Turunen declined to provide more details about the man. He pointed out that the ministry has issued a travel advisory warning Finns against visiting Somalia, noting repeated terrorist attacks. An estimated 17,000 people of Somali descent live in Finland.

Body found 30km from Mogadishu

The plane was a Daallo Airlines Airbus A321 en route to Djibouti.

Somalia’s civil aviation director, Abdiwahid Omar, told the state radio website that a person was missing after the Daallo Airlines plane landed on Tuesday and the body had been found.

“The investigation goes on,” Omar said, without mentioning any explosion or what had forced the plane to return except to say there was a “sudden defect” reported by the captain.

Local authorities in the Balcad area, about 30 km north of Mogadishu, said the body of man, believed to have been sucked out of the plane, was found in the area.

A police officer at Mogadishu airport said, “The dead body of the passenger is being transported to Mogadishu.” The officer, who asked not to be named, told Reuters that the man was about 55 years old.

Bound for Djibouti

Daallo Airlines said on its Facebook page on Tuesday that the plane, operated by Hermes Airlines, took off from Mogadishu with 74 passengers on board before it “experienced an incident” that forced it to return.

SourcesYle, Aviation Herald, Reuters, AFP, BBC,