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  • OFW From Dubai Gives Birth On A Manila-Bound Plane With The Help Of Cabin Crew

    There were no doctors onboard so the cabin crew had to step up.
    by Kitty Elicay . Published Jun 8, 2020
  • When Dino Karganilla volunteered for a repatriation flight with his fellow Philippine Airlines (PAL) crew members last June 6, 2020, it was because he wanted to help Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) fly from Dubai back to Manila. Little did he know that a miracle would soon happen: a passenger would give birth to a baby boy in-flight.

    On their Facebook accounts, Dino and PAL pilot Fidel Guzman Ala shared photos of the extraordinary moment and snippets of what happened during the birth.

    “It was a repatriation flight, our first to Dubai,” Dino recalls in his post. “But who would have though we delivered a baby into this world at 38,000 feet above ground! Halong kaba, tuwa, at iyak ang naramdaman namin lahat.”

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    “Yesterday, the crew of Philippine Airlines Flight PR659 flying from Dubai to Manila, delivered a baby boy into this world, 38,000 feet above ground, in this dreary time of pandemic,” writes Fidel in a public Facebook post, adding that it was one of the most stressful yet fulfilling experiences of his life.

    Because there were no doctors onboard the flight with them, Fidel had to call one through a radio satellite phone. He had to “very carefully” relay medical terms to the cabin attendants who were delivering the baby.

    In a report by Manila Bulletin, flight purser Daisy Castellano was the one who assisted the pregnant passenger. She says that despite her years of experience in the industry it was her first time to assist a mother giving birth mid-flight. She tells the news outlet that she was mentally reviewing the proper procedures that she learned from her training with PAL, but was also “silently praying the whole time and asking guidance in handling the situation.”


    Fidel, in his Facebook post, also admitted that he was terrified while relaying the instructions to the crew. “One misinterpretation of the doctor’s instructions [could] spell out a person’s doom or destiny,” Fidel writes. “I had to ask and re-ask the doctor on the line if I understood him correctly. Who would have thought that in my lifetime, I would have to relay the step-by-step procedure and instructions for cutting an umbilical cord? I had to draw a diagram and [ask] the doctor again and again just to be sure.”

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    Thankfully, the baby boy looked well and healthy and cried loudly. Fidel shares that the boy was named Ali, which in Arabic meant “elevated or most high.”

    After the birth, the flight was diverted to the nearest airport at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Thailand, so that the baby and her mother can be given immediate medical assistance.

    Daisy, a mother of three herself, tells Manila Bulletin that it was a humbling experience. “Everything about motherhood came back when I held the baby,” she says. She was also grateful that she was able to lead a very capable team.

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    In another public Facebook post, PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna shared that it was the team’s winning formula of focus and teamwork that enabled them to “successfully bring into this world a healthy baby boy.”

    She also shared the PR659’s cabin crew members namely flight attendants Joan Rivera, Maria Josefina Lobo, Maria Cordis Caryle Yuchongco, Marie Rose Coronel, Nancy Montinola; flight stewards Dino Karganilla, Jose Madarang, Jr., Ronniel James Mendoza and, Warren Santiago. The flight deck was headed by pilot-in-command Captain Mark Palomares, alongside first officer Herky Vitug and second officer Fidel Guzman Ala.

    On his Facebook post, Dino also writes a message to Ali. “You are a good sign in these trouble times. All the best to you and your mom. God is good and God is great!”

    Smart Parenting reached out to Philippine Airlines but have not received a reply as of publishing.

    Until what month can pregnant women travel? Click here for guidelines.

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