A Lion Air Flight JT797 traveling from Jayapura on Papua to Massakar on Sulawesi, Indonesia on Wednesday, November 18th, , made a brief stop at Pattimura International Airport in Ambon. For a baby who was in a bit of a hurry to join its fellow travelers .
The Lion Air Boeing 737-900 took off from Jayapura’s Sentani International Airport at 13:25 local time. Close to an hour after takeoff, a pregnant woman, local to the point of departure on Papua, began to experience pain.
According to the Jakarta Post, her travel companion requested some hot water to ease the pain from what turned out to be contractions. Members of the cabin crew went to check on the woman. It soon became clear that she had, in fact, gone into labor and was about to give birth.
The senior flight attendant proceeded to call out for a doctor over the PA. One quickly made herself known and presented her credentials. The pregnant woman then gave birth in one of the rows furthest to the back of the plane. All went well, and rather quickly. Both mother and baby are reportedly healthy.
Having consulted the doctor, the plane’s pilot took the decision to land at the nearest airport. This was Pattimura International Airport in Ambon in the province of Maluku, located pretty much right in the middle between Papua and Sulawesi. The plane touched down at 15:49.
The woman and her newborn child (and, presumably, also her travel companion) were transferred to Dr. M. Haulussy Kudamati Ammbon Regional General Hospital for further care. The plane took off again at 16:40 and continued on its way to its original destination, where it landed at 17:15 local time.
Births onboard flights are a very rare occurrence. It happens only once in approximately every 26 million passengers. When they do happen, the airline often celebrates the event and perhaps hopes to nurture a natural inclination for air travel with some form of a gift.