DENVER -- A flight heading from Chicago to Salt Lake City was diverted to Denver Friday morning after a baby boy was born mid-flight.
Southwest Airlines Flight 441 was at about 30,000 feet, and 100 miles north of Denver, when the pilot asked if anyone had medical training. A woman had gone into labor and the captain made a call to divert to Denver -- the closest airport, said Paul Flaningan, a Southwest spokesman.
'They announced on the PA and asked if anyone had any blankets,' Morse said. But before the plane could land, the woman gave birth in flight. 'About 15 minutes later they got on the PA and announced we had a new passenger, a baby boy.' 'They immediately turned the plane around mid-flight and we landed in Denver. They got them out, the dad, mom and baby and took them off to the hospital,' Morse explained. 'All the Southwest staff did an excellent job, really calm. Everything was great. Everything seemed really healthy,' he added.
Flight attendants had thrown down a blanket in the back of the 737 and a doctor who was on the flight delivered the baby boy with the help of Stat Med, a company Southwest contracts with to help flight attendants with medical emergencies on flight.
"We now have a new passenger," said a flight attendant on the jet's public address system after the quick delivery.
The plane landed at Denver International Airport at about 10:20 a.m. The mother and her newborn were taken off the plane by paramedics and transported to Medical Center of Aurora, South Campus by ambulance.
The father and the couple's other kids, who were on the flight, also got off the plane in Denver.
"Mom and baby are doing fine," Flaningan said.
"It sounded like everything went pretty regular -- nothing out of the ordinary," said Denver Fire Division Chief Charles McMillan.
"The baby was delivered in flight, so we drove to the hospital," said Denver Health spokeswoman Dee Martinez, referring to the paramedics' role in getting the mom and baby to the hospital. "It's really the people on flight who did everything."
The flight continued on to Salt Lake City.
Flannigan said in-flight births don't happen very often.
"We might have passengers who are further along and have contractions. It's fairly rare to have a baby born in mid-air," Flaningan said.
"We're going to call the TSA on this guy," Flannigan said, laughing, when asked about the unscreened passenger.
Flight 441 originated in Columbus, Ohio with stops scheduled at Midway Airport in Chicago, Salt Lake City and Boise, Idaho before ending at Spokane, Wash.