A baby boy arrived unexpectedly on board an AirAsia flight
Gave birth above 2,000 feet
Flight AK5606 was on its way to Kuching but had to be re-routed to the low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) in Sepang, 30 minutes after the aircraft left Bayan Lepas Airport in Penang.
Liew Siaw Hsia, a 31-year-old waitress from Taiping, took the flight last night when she was just 27 weeks pregnant, a week shy of the recommended travel ban for pregnant mothers.
When she boarded the flight, she said that there was already some discomfort. But 20 minutes into the journey, she started feeling contractions.
Edd Razhe, the personal assistant to the AirAsia chairman, said when the pilot was informed of the emergency, he contacted the control tower requesting a diversion to the LCCT.
"When I started feeling a lot of pain, I was still too nervous to ask for assistance. It was when I couldn't take it anymore that I asked the passenger beside me for help," said Liew.
She said that the flight attendants tried to calm her down and to hold on from giving birth, but the pain was too unbearable.
"They immediately asked the other passengers sitting around me to move elsewhere, and asked for a doctor on the PA system," she said.
On the flight was Dr Ronald Tang, another passenger, who quickly volunteered his services to the nervous mother while the cabin crew held her hand throughout the entire ordeal.
The healthy baby was safely delivered in mid-air. He became the first born in an AirAsia aircraft.
As soon as the aircraft landed, a waiting ambulance and paramedics whisked the baby and mother to the Putrajaya Hospital.
Edd said although it was an emergency, situation in the aircraft was normal and under control.
AirAsia director of operations Moses Devanayagam visited the mother and child yesterday to congratulate them.
"I would like to congratulate Liew and wish her all the best of luck.
"Delivering a baby at 2,000 feet is indeed a very rare experience, and certainly she will cherish the moment forever," he said.
AirAsia chief Datuk Tony Fernandes, who is in Bangkok flown back to Kuala Lumpur to celebrate the arrival of the baby at the hospital.
AirAsia has announced that it will provide a lifetime of free flights to both Liew and her son to all (AirAsia) destinations.
--News reporting by NST, Bernama and Reuters