Teen gives birth on SAA flight

Africa's economy may be booming, however, some serious issues remain when it comes to doing business. Photo: AFP

Johannesburg - A baby boy was born on an SAA flight between Johannesburg and New York over the weekend.

Spokesman Tlali Tlali confirmed the news in a statement.

"SAA confirms that one of its passengers safely delivered a baby on board flight SA 203 which departed Johannesburg on Saturday.

"About four hours into the flight, crew members asked passengers if there were any medical personnel on board to help a woman in labour.

"Two doctors and a nurse assisted the passenger while the crew explored the possibility of diverting the flight to airports in West Africa," said Tlali.

Fatawmatt Kaba (17) and baby Mamel Joella were in a stable condition and that the flight continued to its destination.

Paramedics assisted mother and baby when the plane landed at John F Kennedy International Airport in New York and transported them to Jamaica Hospital.

Tlali said expectant mothers should check with their doctors before travelling to avoid any potential risk to their unborn babies.

He thanked the doctors and nurse, the flight crew and everyone who assisted and showed empathy during the emergency.

According to SAA's policy only expectant mothers who experience complications with their pregnancy need medical clearance to fly.

For routine pregnancies, expectant mothers could travel domestically up to 36 weeks, and internationally up to 35 weeks.

All pregnant passengers need to provide a letter from their gynaecologist stating the term of pregnancy, the mother's fitness to travel, and whether the pregnancy is single, multiple or high-risk.

The letter needs to list any possible complications, such as hypertension or history of premature labour.

"SAA is currently investigating this particular incident, however, and without prejudging the outcome, information currently at our disposal indicates that the passenger did not disclose any details about her pregnancy in the booking or boarding process," said Tlali.



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