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Canadian doctor helps deliver baby mid-flight

A Qatar Airways jet landed with an extra passenger on board last month – a small bundle of joy.

This came as a big surprise to Canadian Dr Aisha Khatib, who had no “delivery aid” on her flight plans that day.

“I didn’t expect a woman to give birth,” she said.

Khatib, who specializes in travel medicine and, above all, on-air health, was on her way to Uganda on a flight that had just left Doha last month, when she heard a call about the system of sound system.

“About an hour into the flight, they announced, ‘Is there a doctor on board?’ said Khatib.

A passenger, nearly 36 weeks pregnant with her first child, told the flight crew that she was suffering from abdominal pain.

“It wasn’t long after departure when the first signs started to appear,” Rossen Dimitrov, director of customer experience at Qatar Airways, told CTV News.

Khatib ran to the back of the jet, where she found the mom-to-be.

“There was this woman lying there with her head turned towards the aisle and her feet towards the window,” Khatib said. “And this baby was coming out.”

Luckily, there was also a pediatrician and a nurse on board.

“It’s kind of the best situation you can find yourself in, and it was just perfect,” Dmitrov said.

The birth happened very quickly once the team was formed. The baby was born at 35,000 feet.

“I said ‘congratulations, it’s a girl,’ and all of a sudden the whole plane started clapping and clapping – ‘let’s go, okay,'” Khatib said.

The flight crew, who are also trained for such situations, posed with the newborn.

And while flight births do happen, Khatib says from what she’s read, they’re relatively rare.

“The chance of delivering a baby on a plane is about one in 26 million,” she said.

The flight continued to Uganda, where the mother is from.

Both mother and baby are said to be doing very well. And mom was so grateful she named her new daughter after the Canadian doctor.

“So she named her Miracle Aisha, which I thought was really adorable,” she said.

With files from Alexandra Mae Jones of CTVNews.ca