UK & World News

  • 11 December 2012, 18:44

Woman Gives Birth In Rescue Helicopter

A woman has given birth to a 7lb baby boy in a helicopter taking her to hospital from her home on the northernmost Shetland island of Unst.

The drama happened after the womanwent into labour in the early hours of Tuesday.

Shetland Coastguard received a call from her doctor at 4.30am, asking about ferry times from the island to the hospital inLerwick, capital of the island chain.

It was decided to send a helicopter which landed on Unst 90 minutes later - but not soon enough, as it turned out.

The woman was quickly put on board but minutes after the helicopter took off she started to give birth.

It was left to paramedic Marcus Wigfull, who had only ever visited maternity wards during his training, to deliver the child.

"To be honest, I wasn't nervous," said the 40-year-old father of two children aged five and 10.

"It all happened so quickly and my training just kicked in. It all went very smoothly.

"We knew we had about a 15 to 20-minute transfer time to the hospital.

"But within five minutes of bringing the mother on board we realised we weren't going to make it (in time)."

The baby was born at 6.30am 1,000ft above a small island called Lunna Holm. They landed at Lerwick 10 minutes later.

Alex Dodge, watch manager at Shetland Coastguard, said: "This is the first time that a baby has been delivered on the Coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at Sumburgh.

"We would like to congratulate the mother and father on the birth of their son, who is reported to be doing well."

Sumburgh is on the southern tip of the Shetland Islands which lie 125 miles north of the Scottish mainland.

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