This gives new meaning to the term helicopter parenting.
A baby boy was born on board an airborne coast guard helicopter Saturday night after his mother, Alicia MacDonald, went into early labor on the remote Isles of Scilly off southwest England, where there was no midwife on duty.
Baby Torran was welcomed into the world around 1,400 feet in the sky above the county of Cornwall. He weighed 7 pounds, 8 ounces and is “doing fine.”
MacDonald, a humanist celebrant from Inverness in Scotland, was on the archipelago to officiate a friend’s wedding ceremony when she went into labor with her second child.
A Maritime and Coastguard Agency chopper was called in from the mainland, with midwife Linda Benson on board.
It picked up MacDonald and her husband, Sandy, at the islands’ St. Mary’s Airport and was en route to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Treliske, near Truro, when Torran made his unexpected early appearance at 8:53 p.m.
“It’s rare to hear that our helicopter launched with seven people on board but [we] were preparing to land with eight,” Jonathan Mustard, aeronautical operations controller for the coastguard wrote in a statement shared on Facebook.
“Congratulations, mum and dad,” he added.
A Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust spokesperson explained via Facebook that a standby midwifery team “is available on the mainland” when the midwife who is based on the islands “is not due to be on-call.”
“The midwives train with the coastguard helicopter based at Newquay so that everyone on board is well-prepared to transfer a mother in labour to the Royal Cornwall Hospital,” the spokesperson added.
The Scillies, as the archipelago is dubbed, has a population of around 2,300. Its police department ― which is one of the smallest in the world ― put the area on the map several years ago with its tongue-in-cheek Facebook page.
Torran is the second baby to be born inside an airborne U.K. coast guard helicopter, following in the footsteps of another boy who in December 2012 was delivered while flying 1,000 feet in the air over Lunna Holm in the Shetland Islands, northeast of Scotland.