The Boeing 787 was in Bulgarian airspace over the Black Sea when the seven-month pregnant woman went into labour.
Luckily, the Kerala-bound flight had four nurses and two doctors among the passengers.
While they helped deliver the baby with assistance from the cabin crew, the doctors said both the newborn and the mother needed urgent medical care within maximum 2-3 hours.
Family of the woman who gave birth to the baby
“After crew completed meal service, the passenger began complaining of stomach pain and said she was seven months pregnant. Possibly aggravated by turbulence, she said she is going into labour. She also informed about her medical history. The crew paged for doctor and simultaneously the galley was prepared for delivery using duvets and pillows. Doctors and nurse performed delivery,” said an official.
“The doctor said the premature baby and mother needed medical attention. They said they can take care of them in the flight for a maximum of three hours but not longer. Frankfurt, an AI station for decades, was two hours away. The pilots — Captain Shoma Sur, Captain R Narang and first officer Saif Tinwala — informed the airline about the situation via SATCOM. It was decided to immediately divert to Frankfurt, praying both baby and mother stay stable till we land. The pilots informed ATC of the medical emergency, got direct to routing and turned around,” the official added.
The pilots: Captain Shoma Sur, Captain R Narang and first officer Saif Tinwala
“Once in Munchen (Munich) airspace while descending the pilots jettisoned fuel to reach maximum landing weight at Frankfurt. We informed the station manager via SATCOM and ATC. On arrival, after a short taxi and stopping at a remote bay, paramedics came onboard immediately and took the lady, her husband and new born baby to the hospital,” the official said.
The aircraft later took off for Kochi and has landed there.
An AI spokesperson said: “A team of two doctors and four nurses helped in delivery. All onboard equipment were used, two first aid kits, and one physician kit. The baby and mother, who was seven months pregnant, are fine. The woman, newborn and one person travelling with her have alighted at Frankfurt.”
The aircraft had over 210 people on board, including 193 economy and 11 business class passengers. It landed in Frankfurt around 11 pm IST.
Many AI employees saw the birth of the baby just ahead of the announcement of the airline’s future buyer, likely to be founder Tata Group, as a “good sign.”
“We are awaiting the rebirth of our airline under the new owner, hopefully the Tatas. This is the beginning of new beginnings,” said a long time employee.