A baby was born this week aboard a Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul, Turkey to Chicago.
The baby was delivered on Monday by a doctor on board and the the airline’s crew on the flight.
The mother and baby are “in good health,” the airline confirmed in a statement to USA TODAY.
The doctor, Feridun Kubilay, was traveling from Turkey to New Orleans, with a stop in Chicago, according to multiple reports. During the flight, he heard an announcement over the plane’s loudspeaker asking if there were any doctors on board.
He found that the mother was reporting abdominal pain. Although he initially believed the pain was caused by appendicitis or food poisoning, her husband later told Kubilay that she was traveling just weeks before her due date, according to multiple reports.
The captain of the flight told Kubilay that they could land in Copenhagen, Denmark, but the doctor said there would not be time before the baby was born.
“She was screaming,” Kubilay told NOLA.com. “The entire airplane was scared.”
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The doctor had to rotate the baby during the delivery, but the boy was born safely, and the flight landed in Chicago. A medical team was waiting at the airport for the mother and child.
The mother named the baby Mehdi, according to multiple reports.
Kubilay, who works part-time as a neurosurgeon in Turkey and does not practice medicine in the U.S., told NOLA.com that he was originally scheduled to travel a week earlier, but he delayed the trip.
“If I didn’t change my ticket, I don’t know what happens to that lady,” he said. “Someone or something [larger] arranged for me to be on that airplane.”
Countries have different policies about whether babies born over their territory automatically receive citizenship. Babies born over U.S. airspace are granted American citizenship.
This is not the first time in recent months a person has given birth during a commercial flight. One woman, Lavinia Mounga, gave birth in April on a Delta flight from Salt Lake City to Honolulu.