A man appears to have been sucked out of a plane after a suspected bomb blast tore a gaping hole in a passenger jet.
US government sources told the Reuters news agency that a bomb is suspected but they are not yet sure who is responsible.
Somalia’s civil aviation director confirmed a person was missing after the plane made an emergency landing minutes after taking off from Mogadishu.
The body of a man was found around 19 miles (30km) north of the airport, authorities said.
A police officer at the airport told Reuters the man was around 55 years old and he “dropped when the explosion occurred in the plane”.
The pilot of the plane also said he thought a bomb was to blame, and an aviation expert who examined pictures of the damage said it was consistent with an explosive device.
Officials at Somalia’s civil aviation authority said they had no evidence so far of a criminal act.
Two people also suffered minor injuries as 74 passengers and crew of the airliner were evacuated after the plane made a safe landing, Somali aviation official Ali Mohamoud said.
The plane, operated by Daallo Airlines, was headed to Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.
The Serbian pilot, Vladimir Vodopivec, told Belgrade newspaper 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.”
Somalia’s deputy ambassador to the UN Awale Kullane was on the plane, and wrote on Facebook that he “heard a loud noise and couldn’t see anything but smoke for a few seconds”.
When visibility returned they realised “quite a chunk” of the plane was missing, he added.
John Goglia, a former member of the US National Transportation Safety Board and an aviation security expert, said: “We don’t know a lot, but certainly it looks like a device.”
Mr Goglia added there were only two things that could have caused a hole in the jet like the one in the photos circulated online – a bomb or a pressurisation blowout caused by a flaw or fatigue in the plane’s skin.
The images appear to show black soot around the aircraft skin that is peeled back, Mr Goglia said, adding that a pressurisation blowout would not create soot, but a bomb would.
The fact that the explosion happened during take-off – and before the plane reached 30,000 feet where there is maximum pressurisation – made a blowout even less likely, according to Mr Goglia.
Passenger Mohamed Ali told the Associated Press that he and others heard a bang before flames caused a gaping hole in the jet’s side.
“I don’t know if it was a bomb or an electric shock, but we heard a bang inside the plane,” he said.