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Baby Makes Appearance Aboard Search and Rescue Flight

September 04, 2018

Baby Torran MacDonald made his appearance into the world 1,400 feet above Penzance, Cornwall, aboard an HM Coastguard search and rescue (SAR) helicopter on August 18, 2018. This was an exciting day for the MacDonald family, but it was a typical mission for the Newquay SAR team, operated by Bristow.

When Alicia MacDonald, went into labor while on holiday on the Isles of Scilly, there were no midwives in the area, so Alicia needed to be quickly transported to the mainland.

The Bristow team was ready when they received the call. They picked up midwife Linda Benson from Royal Cornwall Hospital and headed to the Isles of Scilly to pick up Alicia.

“We are well-prepared for situations like this,” said Winchman Paramedic and Technical Crew Instructor Ed Griffiths. “Many midwives in the area have undergone familiarization training at our base in Newquay to prepare for this scenario.

“Although some risks are involved in labour, it is typically a routine and uncomplicated process, and this instance was no different,” said Ed. “Due to the facilities, equipment and expertise on board the SAR aircraft, there was no more risk than during a typical out-of-hospital delivery, such as home birth, which are relatively common in the UK.”

Ed and midwife Linda worked together to ensure equipment was available and proper care was given throughout the flight, while the rest of the crew focused on flying the aircraft safely.

Baby Torran was born halfway through the 22-minute flight.

“It’s rare to hear that our helicopter launched with seven people on board, but were preparing to land with eight,” said HM Coastguard Aeronautical Operations Controller Jonathan Mustard. “Congratulations, mum and dad.”

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

The last birth that took place aboard a Coastguard helicopter was in 2012, when a baby was born in the skies over Shetland.