Mon, Oct 19, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Allegations fly over CAL birth

DELIBERATE?A woman who gave birth on a China Airlines flight bound for Los Angeles has been accused of hiding her pregnancy as part of a citizenship ploy

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

A woman who gave birth on a flight to the US covers her head on Saturday as she collects her baggage at Taoyuan Taoyuan International Airport.

Photo: CNA, taken by a member of the public

A former China Airlines (CAL) flight attendant yesterday alleged that a Taiwanese woman who gave birth during a flight to Los Angeles on Oct. 7 deliberately hid her pregnancy to board the flight, a ploy that the woman was reported to have previously used to help secure US citizenship for her two other children.

The incident drew international media attention, with ABC7 News in Los Angeles interviewing University of California, Los Angeles resident physician Angelica Zen, who assisted in the mid-flight delivery.

Zen said that her training is in internal medicine and pediatrics and that she had never delivered a baby by herself before.

Nevertheless, Zen said she offered to help after a crew member asked if there was a doctor onboard.

Considering the safety of the woman and her baby, the captain diverted the flight to Anchorage, CAL said in a statement.

However, the seemingly heart-warming story took an interesting turn of events on Saturday night, when the woman arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport without her baby.

The National Immigration Agency (NIA) said the woman had been denied entry into the US.

However, Aviation Police Bureau spokesman Chen Chun-chieh (陳俊傑) said NIA documents showed her baby was registered as a US citizen.

An investigation by the bureau and NIA revealed that the woman did not break any Taiwanese law, Chen said, adding that the bureau has no further information as to why the woman was denied entry into the US.

The newborn is now under the care of friend of the woman in the US, the bureau said.

Covering her head with a jacket, the woman refused to talk to reporters at the airport.

A former CAL flight attendant alleged on Facebook that the woman did not inform the airline that she was pregnant and tried to hide her pregnancy by wearing baggy clothes.

“The pregnant woman started to experience labor pains when the flight was about to take off. When approached by the flight attendants, the woman simply said she had a bloated stomach,” the former flight attendant said.

While everybody was busy trying to deliver the baby, the woman refused to lie down and kept asking the flight attendants if the aircraft had reached US airspace, the former flight attendant said.

The woman told Zen she was 36 weeks pregnant and that she did not know how to give birth naturally, as her two other children were delivered via Caesarian section, the former flight attendant said.

Noting a woman in her 32nd week of pregnancy would need a doctor’s certificate to travel by airplane, the former flight attendant wrote: “Do you know all the passengers were forced to make a stop at Anchorage because of the child in your ‘bloated’ stomach? Do you know how much social cost had been spent just so that your child could get a US passport?”

The airline said the woman had informed the ground crew she was pregnant before boarding, adding that she said she had yet to reach the 32nd week of her pregnancy and was allowed to board the flight. The company said the woman’s water broke about six hours after takeoff, adding that the baby was born about 30 minutes before landing in Anchorage.

A story published in Anchorage Dispatch News on Thursday quoted Alaska Department of Health and Social Services spokeswoman Sarana Schell as saying that the child is eligible for an Alaskan birth certificate, regardless of the state’s 19.3km territorial limit.

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