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Passenger goes into labor on 11-hour flight: ‘Literally just witnessed a woman giving birth’

A nurse turned flight attendant helped deliver the baby

(iStock/Washington Post illustration)
2 min

A woman went into labor during an 11-hour flight from Ghana to the D.C. area early Sunday morning — and a flight attendant who used to be a nurse helped deliver the baby.

United Flight 997 left Accra, Ghana, on Saturday night and arrived at 5:41 a.m. Sunday. One passenger said on social media that three hours of the flight remained after the birth.

“Our crew was amazing — they acted quickly, assisted the medical professionals onboard and ensured everyone stayed safe throughout the flight,” United said in a statement. “And we were especially thrilled to see the plane land with one extra, especially beautiful, customer onboard.”

ABC News identified one of those medical professionals as Stephen Ansah-Addo, a dermatology resident at the University of Michigan.

A baby was born mid-flight over the Pacific. A viral TikTok video captured the scene and first cries.

The airline provided a photo of a blue helium United balloon and a handwritten note that said: “On behalf of the United team at Washington Dulles, congratulations on your new baby boy!”

The identity of the passenger who gave birth was not released.

Fellow travelers recorded some of the newborn’s earliest moments — along with footage of the medical professionals who stepped in — and posted them on Instagram.

“All I did was hold her hand after she pushed him out …(thought I was gonna pass the hell out),” wrote one passenger, Tiani Warren, who sat in front of the woman. Warren, who nicknamed herself the “flight auntie,” posted a video of a flight attendant cradling the tiny baby wrapped in blankets.

“This is our United baby,” Warren says. “Welcome, little one. He came early.”

Warren’s seat mate, a TV personality named Nancy Adobea Anane, interviewed the mother and the doctor, who had been visiting family in Ghana, on her Instagram account. She wrote that the baby was due in late February, and she said he and his mother were “doing awesome.”

The baby’s mother thanked the crew and the doctor and nurse who helped.

“This is the reason why you go into medicine, to help people,” Ansah-Addo told ABC.