MAINZ, Germany — U.S. airmen helped to deliver a baby after an Afghan woman went into labor in mid-air aboard an evacuation flight that landed in Germany Saturday, the U.S. Air Mobility Command said.
The woman, whose identity was not revealed, was aboard a C-17 aircraft on her way to Ramstein Air Base in southwest Germany when she went into labour, the command said in a statement on its Facebook page.
The flight took off from “an intermediate staging base in the Middle East,” the statement said. It was not clear when the woman left Afghanistan.
The mother began experiencing complications in-flight due to low blood pressure, the statement said, adding, “The aircraft commander made the decision to descend in altitude to increase air pressure in the aircraft, which helped stabilize and save the mother’s life.”
The airmen from the 86th Medical Group rushed onboard and delivered the baby in the cargo bay of the aircraft as the plane landed, the statement said.
The baby girl and mother were transported to a nearby medical facility and are in good condition, a spokesperson for the 86th Airlift Command at Ramstein Air Base told NBC News.
A spokesperson for Ramstein Air Base told NBC News Sunday 6,100 evacuees from Afghanistan have been flown to the air base since the start of Operation Allies Refuge, with more flights expected in the coming days. The Pentagon said Saturday that 17,000 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan since Aug.14.
But thousands more are still waiting to escape Afghanistan as the Taliban seek to consolidate their rule, and the security situation around the Kabul airport continues to deteriorate with people being crushed to death near the airport. The U.K. government said Sunday seven Afghan civilians were killed in a panicked crush of people trying to enter the airport.
President Joe Biden vowed to get Americans home and help Afghans who had assisted U.S. forces and others who might be in danger on Friday, calling it “one of the largest, most difficult airlifts in history.”
But U.S. efforts have been met with criticism in light of the chaos that ensued at the Kabul airport earlier this week as the Taliban took control of the capital.
On Sunday, the Pentagon said it would draft in commercial aircraft to help transport people once they have been evacuated from Afghanistan.
U.S. defense officials also warned Saturday of a possible ISIS threat to the airport and Americans trying to evacuate.
Andy Eckardt reported from Mainz and Yuliya Talmazan from London.