Woman gives birth mid-flight as doctor describes 'miracle' delivery

A British doctor has described the "miraculous" moment he helped a woman give birth while 35,000ft in the air on a passenger jet.

Junior doctor, Hassan Khan, delivered a healthy baby girl after a fellow passenger went into labour while on a flight from Jordan to London over the weekend.

The 28-year-old was flying with a group of friends, who were all coincidentally doctors, when an announcement was issued asking for medical help.

Speaking to Sky's The UK Tonight, Dr Khan said all of his friends volunteered when the flight crew called for a doctor on board.

"Out of all of the flights that this could have possibly happened on, I would say this was a relatively good one given the number of medical staff available," he told Sky News.

The group decided Dr Khan was best equipped to deal with the situation - but it was not exactly straightforward for the medic who works at Basildon Hospital in Essex.

Her water had broken and "she was about to deliver soon", he said, adding that "she didn't speak a word of English".

Juggling the language barrier and a lack of the equipment one would usually find in a maternity ward, Dr Khan improvised and asked for the necessities to complete the birth.

Dr Khan said: "We needed some simple equipment like towels to dry the baby as soon as it comes out and wrap it up to keep it warm. Not many airlines at all are prepared for a birth to happen in the air."

A 2019 study published in the International Society of Travel Medicine said there were only 74 infants born on commercial flights between 1929 and 2018 - 71 of whom survived the delivery.

It concluded despite the rarity of such births, medically trained passengers were key to helping with deliveries.

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Dr Khan told the Southend Echo: "I was so fixated on managing the situation, I almost forgot we were on an aircraft, and it felt surreal to help deliver a baby safely with more than two hundred unknown passengers and flight crew around."

The Wizz Air plane was forced to divert to southern Italy halfway through the flight so that the mother and baby were attended to, but the doctor described the other passengers being more "amazed with what had happened" than anything.

"All were saying this is such a miracle whilst they were there to witness it," he said.

He received a positive update a day after the birth when he was told that the girl was "healthy".

Since then, he hasn't received further notifications but he said: "No news is good news, I can only assume".

When asked whether, if the baby had been a boy, he would have liked it to have been named after him, Dr Hassan laughed and said: "It would have been a nice token."