A flight en route to London was recently forced to make an emergency landing in Palmas, Spain, because a mother went into labor and ultimately gave birth while the plane was still airborne. If you’re like most mothers, your immediate question was, “Why was this woman allowed to fly?”
According to a THISDAY article, Arik Airlines investigators have the same questions. In fact, a full scale investigation has been launched to uncover whether the medical report produced by the woman was authentic. According to International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) regulations, women with full term pregnancies are not allowed to travel by airplane. They are required to produce medical reports to verify that they are less than 32 weeks pregnant before flying.
While this passenger did produce the required papers, investigators are looking into whether a doctor falsified documents for her. If so, a special complaint would be filed with the Nigeria Medical Association for putting her life, the baby’s life, and the lives of the passengers on board at risk. It's possible that the baby was born prematurely, although no status is known to that effect.
When the flight crew realized this woman was in labor, they asked for doctors on board to identify themselves, which is when the two doctors who helped deliver the baby came forward.
While other babies have been delivered on flights and the airplane was still able to reach its destination, the doctors in this case, who may or may not have been OB-GYNs, suggested the emergency landing due to the mother’s excessive bleeding.
At the time of THISDAY’s report, both the mother and the baby were stable and recovering in Palmas while the other passengers continued on to London.
Have you ever been on a flight that had to land due to an emergency? Share your story in the comments below.