A woman successfully gave birth to a healthy baby girl in midair on a Turkish Airlines (THY) flight to Istanbul.
Diaby Nafi, a French-Guinean woman who was nine months pregnant, started to go into labor shortly after the plane took off from Conakry, Guinea en route to Turkey with a stop at Burkina Faso Friday.
With the help of the cabin crew, who are trained for such contingencies, Nafi gave birth to a healthy baby girl at an altitude of 13,000 meters (42,000 feet), and was named Kadiju by her mother.
As soon as Kadiju was born, another Guinean passenger whispered the baby’s name into her ear following a recitation of adhan (the Muslim call to prayer) — a Muslim tradition after a baby is born.
After the birth, the plane landed routinely in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The mother and the baby were immediately taken to the hospital, which found them in good condition.
Cabin attendant Bouthayna Inanir, who helped the delivery, told the press that Nafi gave the birth while standing.
“The lady was in great pain,” Inanir said. “And then the baby was on the seat. This was the hardest part. I had to grab the baby. I took her and give her to the mother.”
Another stewardess, Demet Hocaoglu, said that when they realized that Nafi was giving birth, the cabin crew shared the job, just like they did during training for such situations.
Pilot Irfan Kursun Gecmez said that the crew immediately informed the cockpit that a woman was about to give birth. According to procedures, he added, the plane would land at the nearest airport if the baby or mother’s lives was in danger.
“Everything happened quickly. We got the news that the delivery was done successfully while we were waiting to hear a second confirmation and learn about the latest news,” he said. “So, we decided to continue the route.”
After the birth, the cabin crew took photos with the mother and the baby.
Stewardess Ayse Evrim Fidan said that the passenger had not appeared nine months pregnant and had not told the airline or crew of her condition.
Normally Turkish Airlines does not allow pregnant women to fly after 36 weeks. A doctor’s letter is required for expectant mothers nearing the end of their pregnancy.