British Airways plane forced to make an emergency landing after a woman gave birth at 36,000ft
konknaijaboy | On 03, May 2014
Born to fly: British Airways plane forced to make an emergency landing after a woman gave birth at 36,000ft just 26 weeks into pregnancy
- Ujunwa Ozeh, 31, went into labour at only 26 weeks pregnant while on a BA flight from Nigeria to London
- The plane made an emergency landing on the island of Palma de Mallorca so the woman and newborn could receive medical attention
- They both remain in hospital but are stable
- Once the emergency was dealt with the flight continued Heathrow, arriving only thirty minutes late
A plane flying from Nigeria to London had to make an emergency landing on a Spanish island when a woman gave birth in business class.
Ujunwa Eneh Ozeh, who turned 31 today, went into labour at 36,000 feet while flying from her home town of Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, to London Heathrow, despite only being 26 weeks pregnant.
The pilot of the British Airways flight was forced to make an emergency landing in Palme de Mallorce, in the Balearic Islands, where the mother and baby, who has been called Michael, were rushed to the island’s Son Espases hospital.
Ujunwa Ozeh was on a British Airways flight when she went into labour at only 26 weeks pregnant
The Boeing 777 was flying from Abuja, Nigeria, to London Heathrow but had to make an emergency landing in Palma de Mallorca
An example of a flatbed in a BA flight’s Club Class section, where Mrs Ozeh gave birth
While Mrs Ozeh will be discharged on Monday, Michael is currently in the intensive care unit and will remain in hospital until August, around his original due date, so he can develop properly.
Mrs Ozeh said: ‘I don’t have any other option than to stay here on the island. My baby needs me to just hang in there for him until it is safe for him to come home with me.’
The mother-of-two was travelling with her one-year-old daughter Nnedinma and was planning to catch a connecting flight from London to Washington, USA, where she was taking the little girl for vacation.
Nnedinma was born in the United States but Mrs Ozeh is insistent she was not retuning the country to have Micheal.
She said: ‘I was going for the summer, Michael was not due until August, there is no way I would be able to stay in the United States until August. I had a return ticket to Nigeria booked for May 28, so I intended to stay for a few weeks and then go home.’
When her water broke, fellow passengers alerted the cabin crew who put out a call for doctors over the intercom. A female doctor, currently unidentified, was onboard and able to oversee the birth with the help of flight crew, who are trained in birthing procedures.
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At first, the housewife at first refused to believe she had gone into labour so early.
It used to be the case that a baby born on board a British ship or aircraft would automatically get British citizenship.
This was based on a UN directive aimed at minimising the number of people in the world without a registered state.
However, the British Nationality Act 1981, stated that any such baby, born after January 1, 1983, would not be granted British citizenship unless at least one parent already held it.
Mrs Ozeh said: ‘I just wasn’t thinking that I could be in labour, I couldn’t imagine it. When the doctor told me that the baby was coming I went into total shock, I can’t really remember, I wasn’t able to think clearly.’
Once the plane had touched down, mother and baby were raced to hospital where they are stable.
Mrs Ozeh said: ‘I am fine and healthy and the doctor said that Michael is doing pretty well, that it’s looking good and he is trying to survive.’
Her husband, Kaycee Ozeh, a local businessman in Nigeria, is now scurrying to get a visa so he can travel to be with his wife and children. Mrs Ozeh said she had never thought the baby would come so early, or would not have attempted travelling.
Ujunwa Ozeh and baby Michael was rushed to hospital after the plane landed on the island of Palma de Mallorca, pictured. Michael is currently in the ICU and will be kept in hospital until August
She said: ‘Right now, [Mr Ozeh] doesn’t have a Spanish visa but I need him to come here. I don’t know what I’m going to do when I get out of the hospital, I’m completely in the dark. I need my husband because I don’t know the next step to take.’
Under BA regulations, pregnant woman can fly on their planes until the end of their 36th week, or 32nd week if carrying more than one baby.
Once the emergency was dealt with, the plane continued on to the UK, arriving only thirty minutes late.
A spokesman for British Airways said: ‘Our cabin crew, who are trained in birthing procedures, assisted with the delivery of a baby on board our flight from Abuja.
‘The Captain diverted the aircraft to Palma so that mum and baby could be taken to hospital.
‘We are in touch and will continue to provide any support and help we can.
‘We wish the mother and her little one all the very best.’