London, July 26 : Aviation experts are of the view that a bomb may have caused the hole in the side of the Boeing 747 Qantas flight that was on its way to Melbourne from London.
Qantas flight QF30, with 300 passengers and crew on board, plunged 20,000ft after the missing panel caused an "explosive" depressurisation.
The Times quoted David Learmount, Safety Editor at Flight International Magazine, as saying: "It's possible there was some kind of explosive device in the suitcases. There's a hole where there shouldn't be."
But he stressed that other possible causes for the damage included physical damage or a corrosive that weakened the hull, making it give way.
The Boeing 747 had just taken off from a stopover in Hong Kong when the incident happened. As the plane dropped from 30,000ft to 10,000ft, oxygen masks fell from the ceiling.
Investigators should be able to quickly pinpoint the basic reason behind the Qantas plane's emergency landing in the Philippines, aviation experts said today.
But they warned that a full understanding of the terrifying incident might take much longer.
"It should become apparent fairly quickly if something exploded or something broke," said Kieran Daly, editor of the Internet news service Air Transport Intelligence.
Qantas is still trying to establish how the large hole came to appear in the fuselage. An emergency room has been set up at the airline's head office at Mascot airport in Sydney, where aircraft engineers are briefing senior airline executives.