, Tokyo, Japan, May 11 – A Canadian woman gave birth aboard a plane to Tokyo after going into labour over the Pacific Ocean, a spokesman for Air Canada said Monday, an event the baby’s father described as “completely unexpected”.
The 23-year-old woman delivered a baby girl mid-air with the help of a doctor who volunteered after crew asked passengers for medical help.
The plane was given priority to land at Narita Airport, just outside the Japanese capital, but by the time it taxied to a halt, it had one more passenger than it had started with.
“I couldn’t imagine. This happened completely unexpectedly,” the father, whose name was not revealed, told Japanese television.
“It turned out to be a beautiful baby girl,” he added, showing a snap of the little bundle taken on his smartphone.
The Air Canada plane from Calgary bound for Narita landed 30 minutes ahead of schedule after being bumped up the queue by air traffic controllers.
The new mum was seen emerging from the plane in a wheelchair, while her partner carried his daughter in his arms.
Mother and baby were taken to hospital, where they remained overnight, but where both are said to be doing well, the Air Canada spokesman said.
The flight crew smiled and waved at press as they got off the plane.
“Everyone was clapping their hands,” a woman passenger told one television programme. “She’s such a cute baby with big eyes.”
“This is a happy thing,” a male passenger said.
Air Canada allows women with a normal pregnancy and no previous history of premature labour to travel up to and including their 36th week.
It was not known how far into her pregnancy this woman was when she boarded the plane in Calgary.
In March a Qatar Airways plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Canada after a woman unexpectedly went into labour, delivering a baby boy hours after take-off.
In January, a Jordanian woman gave birth to a baby girl mid-flight over the Atlantic while travelling to New York from Amman.