goTaiping Everlasting Peace
                                                    Taiping, Perak, Malaysia


Baby makes his entrance sky high


By Regina Lee

PUTRAJAYA: It was a harrowing experience but in the end a huge relief when a passenger safely gave birth to a baby boy on board an AirAsia flight.

Liew Siaw Hsia, a 31-year-old waitress from Taiping, took a Penang-Kuching flight on Wednesday evening 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 she had already experienced some discomfort.

Twenty minutes into the journey, Liew started feeling contractions and the flight crew immediately made an emergency diversion to Kuala Lumpur.

"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 any more that I asked the passenger beside me for help."

She said the flight attendants tried to calm her down and told her to hold on from giving birth, but the pain became too unbearable.

"They immediately asked the other passengers sitting around me to move elsewhere, and requested for a doctor on the public address system."

On the flight was another passenger, Dr Ronald Tang, who quickly volunteered his services to the nervous mother while the cabin crew held her hand throughout the entire ordeal.

The baby was safely delivered at 2,000 feet when flight AK6506 was approaching Kuala Lumpur.

As soon as the aircraft landed, a waiting ambulance and a team of paramedics whisked the baby and mother to Putrajaya Hospital here.

AirAsia director of operations Moses Devanayagam visited the mother and child yesterday to congratulate them and presented them both with free flights for life.

"I would like to congratulate Liew and wish her all the best of luck," he said.

"Delivering a baby at 2,000 feet is indeed a very rare experience and she will certainly cherish this moment forever."