An unexpected new passenger decided to make its way into the world on board a Cebu Pacific flight from Dubai earlier this week after a woman reportedly gave birth mid-air, few hours after takeoff.
According to a Facebook post by a passenger, which has gone viral since, on board Cebu Pacific Flight 5J15 bound for Manila, a pregnant woman started having contractions five hours into the flight and delivered a ‘healthy baby girl’ shortly after.
The incident occurred on August 13, aboard the Airbus A330 scheduled flight that departs daily from Dubai at 11.10pm.
Video Credit: Viral trends online on Facebook
Passenger Missy Berberabe Umandal told Emirates 24|7 the plane was diverted to Hyderabad, where the mother and baby, along with a beaming grandmother, were transferred to a local hospital.
Umandal described the incident as it happened, saying: “It was night time during our flight and so everyone in the plane was asleep, including me.
“My mom woke me up saying that a baby was about to come.”
According to Umandal, the expectant mother and her companion were seated next to them.
“We don’t really know when the water broke, however, the grandmother of the baby told us that she just started having contractions mid-flight,” recalled Umandal.
“She was to give birth on October, so this came as a surprise, even to her mother who picked her up from Dubai.
“Unfortunately, the Philippines was about five hours away still and the mother of the baby said she really couldn’t hold off any longer.”
Flight attendants were informed, who immediately called for medical assistance amidst the sleeping passengers. Two nurses volunteered and facilitated the birth.
According to the eyewitness, the pregnant woman was taken to the front of the aircraft, near the galley, and the curtains were shut to give privacy to the mother for the birth.
‘She was already crowning’
Umandal stated: “She [the baby] was already crowning, so the mother was brought to the more spacious area in front of the plane.
“We only heard one semi-loud screech, and a few seconds later, there were tinier, cute screeches, and it was when we knew the baby was born.
“Luckily, she only had to push once. Moments later, the woman got up to go back to her seat, baby in arms (mighty strong, I might say).”
Fellow passengers on board pitched in to help, with Umandal stating there were two other infants on board the flight, “and one of the passengers had a suitcase full of clothes and necessities, which could not have come at a better time'.
“The flight attendants took a shelf from the cabinets and filled it with mineral water, which became a makeshift wash basin to clean the baby in.”
The aircraft was then diverted to India.
For passengers on board the Cebu Pacific flight, a regular nine-hour journey turned into a 13-hour voyage, but Umandal said there were no complaints from people on board under the circumstances.
“The baby, the mother, and grandmother were all transported to the nearest hospital,” revealed Umandal. “We left them there in India, and according to the brother of the baby’s mother, they are still in India where the baby is healthy.
“I think they are staying a few more days to fix papers, and the baby is still in an incubator since she was born premature. We were joking that the baby’s mother and the grandmother boarded the plane only as a twosome, but came out as the generations.”
In her post, Umandal also wrote a special message to the new mother, saying: “To the woman, in the hopes she gets to read this: we understand you are resting and giving time to take care of your baby, but we are all hoping for your quick recovery and a lifetime of happiness to your beautiful child.
“And Mom, this experience made me appreciate you so much more than I already do. When my future children ask me what my greatest memory with my mother was, I would tell them of this extraordinary moment we shared.”
According to Umandal, the baby might be named ‘Haven’.
Emirates 24|7 contacted the airline, but a statement from Cebu Pacific wasn’t available at the time.
For those curious about the child’s nationality, according to the United Nations 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, "birth on a ship or in an aircraft shall be deemed to have taken place in the territory of the State whose flag the ship flies or in the territory of the State in which the aircraft is registered, as the case may be".
Cebu Pacific is registered in the Philippines.