A Pakistani mother Tuesday gave birth to a baby girl on-board a flight taking pilgrims from the Muslim holy city of Medina in Saudi Arabia to Pakistan, airline officials said.
A spokesman for Pakistan International Airline (PIA) said both the mother and baby were healthy, though it was a premature birth.
The flight was scheduled to land in the eastern city of Multan in the early morning hours but was diverted to the southern metropolis Karachi due to bad weather, spokesman Mashood Tajwar told the German Press Agency.
The plane later arrived in Multan in the afternoon, airport official Mohamed Nadeem said.
Airline staff and hostesses helped the woman give birth after the mother complained of pain, Tajwar said.
Miracles happen everyday and we had our little miracle today onboard our flight PK 716 from Madinah to Multan. A beautiful baby girl was born! We congratulate the proud parents on the new arrival and a big kudos to our cabin crew for their amazing emergency response. #PIA pic.twitter.com/RPo8wyFvvE— PIA (@Official_PIA) December 12, 2017
"All the passengers onboard and PIA staff welcomed the newborn," Tajwar said, citing one of the cabin crew hostesses.
"The baby was wrapped in flight blankets and the staff distributed sweets among all passengers. The mother got chocolates and a bouquet from the airline," the official said.
The woman and her husband went to Saudi Arabia for the ritual of Umrah, which includes a pilgrimage to the cities of Mecca and Madinah.
PIA doesn't allow women to travel if they are beyond the 27th week of pregnancy, Tajwar said, but added there is no mechanism to implement this rule without cooperation by passengers.
Earlier this year in June, an Indian woman gave birth prematurely on Jet Airways flight between Damman in Saudi Arabia and Kochi in the southern Indian state of Kerala.
Jet Airways said it was the first time a baby had been born on one of its flights and gave the newborn boy free travel for life on the airline.
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