Nereida Araujo was trying to get to a family member's home for Thanksgiving. Her unborn daughter had other plans.
The Florida woman told WSOC-TV in Charlotte, North Carolina, that she was sleeping when she felt a pop in her lower back, followed by her water breaking. The plane was heading toward a layover in Charlotte from Tampa. Florida, en route to Pennsylvania on Wednesday, according to media reports. Araujo - who was reportedly traveling with her husband and two other children - would not be onboard for the final leg.
"Upon landing in Charlotte on Wednesday, November 27, American Airlines Flight 868 from Tampa, requested medical personnel due to a passenger who needed assistance," airline spokesman Ross Feinstein said in an email.
A spokesman for the EMS organization Medic that serves Mecklenburg County, Lester Oliva, said paramedics and the Charlotte Fire Department helped deliver the baby girl around 2 p.m. on the jetway of Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
"This is exceptionally rare, and we are happy (and thankful of course!!) to be a part of this family's story," Oliva wrote in an email.
Araujo told WSOC that she named the baby Lizyana Sky Taylor.
"We're going to call her Sky," she told the news station.
In a Facebook post attributed to Araujo, she thanked "the pilot who landed me & Baby Sky safe," the medics, a fellow passenger who helped her and her friends and family.
"Everything went by so fast," the post said.
On its website, American Airlines says anyone within four weeks of their due date must provide a doctor's certificate that says they've been examined recently and are fit to fly. Passengers are not allowed to fly within seven days of their due date for domestic flights under five hours.
Araujo told WSOC from her hospital bed that, at 38 weeks pregnant, she had been cleared by her doctor and the airline to fly.
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