Baby Shaun born on board Air India flight from London

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Simi went into labour when the plane was only midway through its flight

The medical team with Simi Maria

Kochi: Little did seven-month pregnant Simi Maria Philip know about the events that would unfurl as she boarded the London to Kochi flight. Simi went into labour when the plane was only midway through its flight.

A Malayali team was soon arranged out of the passengers aboard the plane. The child was born premature and was underweight. The captain flew the plane to the nearest airport in Frankfurt after realising that the baby would not survive the flight that would take another 7 hours to reach Kochi. The AC in the flight was turned off and the temperature was adjusted to keep the baby comfortable. The plane landed in Frankfurt and Simi heaved a huge sigh of relief. She had lost her first child just one week after birth.

Simi thanked Ernakulam native Dr Inshad Ibrahim and his team who were aboard the Air India flight from London to Kerala. Inshad, who works at Wrexham Maelor Hospital in Wales became a part of the baby's birth as he was returning home with his family on the flight.

“Simi’s water broke two and a half hours after the flight’s take off. The Malayali doctor Richa Philip and Nurse Leela Baby who were aboard the flight helped Simi at first. Simi was treated on a blanket that was laid on the floor of the food area of the flight. Although the birth happened fast, the baby was still and not moving. When the baby did not cry even after a while, we got tensed. I tapped the baby’s face and back and that is when he started crying. That was a huge relief. Then we had to run around looking for a scissor to cut the umbilical cord.” Inshad talked about the story of the baby’s birth.

The baby weighed only 1 Kg. The plane soon turned into a mini-hospital when other passengers working in the medical field offered help. Malayalis including Mariamma, Steffy, Pratheesh and Jaison were all part of the medical team. The flight took a detour and landed at Frankfurt where Air India has a base.

The mom and the baby had to be shifted to the business class before landing because it was dangerous to land the flight with them on the floor. Simi and the baby were admitted to a hospital in Frankfurt after landing.

Inshad and team have created a WhatsApp group with the name ‘Air India Labour Team’ upon landing in Kerala and are keeping in touch with Simi through the group.

On Saturday morning, there was a message in the WhatsApp group from Simi’s phone. ‘We have named him Shaun. Both mom and baby are doing well in Frankfurt.’

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