A British Airways flight flying from Nigeria to London had to make an emergency landing on a Spanish island after a passenger went into premature labour and gave birth in business class.
The passenger, a Nigerian, who was 26 weeks into her pregnancy, was one of 296 passengers on the Boeing 777.
The woman identified as Ujunwa Eneh Ozeh turned 31 yesterday, and went into labour at 36,000 feet while flying from Abuja to London Heathrow.
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 named Michael, were rushed to the island’s Son Espases hospital.
It was gathered that Mrs. Ozeh will be discharged on Monday, but Michael who is currently in the intensive care unit, 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.
At first, the housewife at first refused to believe she had gone into labour so early.
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
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.’