Baby born on board Coastguard helicopter at 1,400 feet

Alicia and Sandy MacDonald welcomed their baby boy early while visiting the Isles of Scilly. Credit: Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust

A Coastguard helicopter turned airborne maternity unit when a baby boy was born while the helicopter was in flight at 1,400 feet.

The baby was born on board the helicopter over Penzance in Cornwall after his mother, Alicia MacDonald, went into labour while visiting the Isles of Scilly.

The incident began at about 7pm on Saturday when the Coastguard was asked by the South West Ambulance Service to assist with a rescue.

Since there was not a midwife on the islands on Saturday night, the mother-to-be and her partner needed to be flown to a hospital on the mainland.

The Newquay Coastguard helicopter was scrambled, collected a midwife, touched down at St Mary’s Airport, picked up the couple and then began the trip to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro.

However, the baby boy was in such a hurry he decided to make an appearance on board the aircraft.

Jonathan Mustard, aeronautical operations controller for HM Coastguard, said: “This is the second time that a baby has been born on board a Coastguard helicopter.

“The last one was born over Lunna Holm, Shetland in December 2012.

“We are absolutely thrilled and delighted to have played a part in the birth and are pleased that mum and baby are doing well.

“It’s rare to hear that our helicopter launched with seven people on board but were preparing to land with eight."

Baby Torran was born on board the aircraft at 8.53pm. Credit: Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust

At 8.53pm, with the help of midwife Linda Benson and aircrew, the healthy baby boy was born.

Baby Torran weighed 7lb 8oz.

Parents Alicia and Sandy MacDonald have thanked everyone who was involved in the safe delivery of their son.

Alicia said, “Torran is doing fine and we’d like to thank the coastguard, the midwife and the midwifery team at the hospital.”