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June 23, 2017

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Taiwanese woman gives birth at 30,000 feet on CAL flight

TAIPEI -- A Taiwanese woman aboard a China Airlines (CAL) plane bound for Los Angeles gave birth to a baby girl in the air Thursday, the nation's largest air carrier confirmed Thursday.

CAL said her flight took off from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 11:50 p.m. Wednesday and was scheduled to arrive in the U.S. at 8:35 p.m., Los Angeles time.

Around six hours into the flight, the woman, who was not yet 32 weeks pregnant, reported that her water had broken. Crew members immediately asked a doctor passenger to provide assistance.

The captain informed the company and asked for permission to land at the nearest airport — Anchorage — out of consideration for the safety of the woman and her baby.

But about 30 minutes before the plane landed at Ted Stevens Anchorage Airport, the woman gave birth, with the assistance of the doctor.

After the plane landed at Anchorage at 9:06 a.m. Thursday (Taipei time), the woman and baby were taken to a local hospital, where both of them were reported to be in good condition.

The plane, after being refueled, continued its journey to Los Angeles, more than three hours later than the original arrival time.

CAL reported that most of the passengers expressed understanding for the delay.

CAL sent staff to see the woman at the hospital and gave her a red envelope to express its good wishes.

On questions as to why the air carrier would allow a pregnant woman aboard a flight that could endanger her safety, CAL pointed out that women who are not yet 32 weeks pregnant are treated as normal passengers. A pregnant woman usually gives birth at around 40 weeks.

But CAL still advised pregnant women to consult with their doctors before boarding a plane to ensure the safety of themselves and their babies.

CAL dismissed rumors that the woman will enjoy free trips aboard CAL planes for the rest of her life.

As for the nationality of the baby girl, the Civil Aeronautics Administration said that she was born in U.S. airspace aboard a Republic of China carrier and that her nationality will depend upon the birth certificate issued by the Anchorage hospital.

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