Southwest Airlines flight diverts to LAX after woman gives birth in flight

Thursday, December 11, 2014
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A passenger went into labor shortly after a Southwest Airlines flight took off from San Francisco Tuesday, and then gave birth in flight. The plane was diverted to Los Angeles International Airport after the high-flying delivery.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Passengers on a Southwest Airlines plane from San Francisco to Phoenix Tuesday got a lot more than they bargained for.

"It was a really cool thing, and they're OK as far as I know," said passenger Ely Alexander.

Almost as soon as the wheels were up, a woman went into labor and actually gave birth in flight.

"Never thought I'd experience that, yeah, everyone was saying the same thing. It was just amazing that that happened on a plane," Alexander said.

Passengers on Flight 623 could hardly believe their eyes, but say everyone kept their composure.

"No one freaked out, no, it was all very calm," Alexander said. "It was really amazing how calm it was and how many people came to help."

Luckily, an emergency room nurse and a doctor were onboard and assisted with the delivery, according to airline spokeswoman Emily Samuels.

"The woman sitting there calmly turns around, she goes, 'she just gave birth' ... so we got a little blanket and we're like, 'here, take it,'" said passenger Kurt Reed.

Passengers took to social media using #inflightbaby and #babyonboard.

The plane was diverted to Los Angeles and paramedics were waiting at Los Angeles International Airport when it landed around 7:30 a.m.

"Both the mother and the child were doing absolutely well," said Los Angeles Fire Department Captain Jaime Moore. "It's not very often that we are arriving to Los Angeles International Airport to accept a baby, a newborn baby, that was delivered in flight."

The aircraft was taken out of service for cleaning and the remaining passengers were transferred to another flight. They arrived in Phoenix around 2:30 p.m. with an exciting story to tell, Samuels said.

Nevertheless, it was a lot of firsts for everyone, including the little bundle of joy who has already checked "baby's first flight" off his list.