Woman gives birth on flight over California

Wed Dec 10, 2014 3:28pm EST
 
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By Shelby Sebens

(Reuters) - A woman and her baby are doing well after an unexpected midair birth on a Phoenix-bound plane over California shocked passengers and crew members, Southwest Airlines officials said on Wednesday. 

Southwest Flight 623 started its trip from San Francisco to Phoenix on Tuesday with 111 passengers but landed with 112 after the woman gave birth and the plane was rerouted to Los Angeles, airline spokeswoman Emily Samuels said. 

Paramedics met the baby and mother, who are not being identified by the airline, after they landed and took them to a nearby hospital. The passengers were later put on another plane to Phoenix. 

“We're definitely in touch with them and helping them in any way that we can,” Samuels said. “We're hoping we've got a little Southwest customer for life there.”

Flight crew members and an emergency room nurse who happened to be on board delivered the baby, Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Katherine Main said. The mother and newborn were in good condition when paramedics transported them.

“LAFD praises both the ER nurse that was on the flight as well as the Southwest aircrew for their assistance because they basically delivered the baby,” she said. 

The airline discourages women from flying late into pregnancy, especially after 38 weeks, Samuels said. It was unknown how far along the mother was when she boarded the flight.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Peter Cooney)