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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Arik: Expectant Woman Concealed her Pregnancy

Culled from Thisday.
By Chinedu Eze
The circumstances surrounding the emergency landing of an Arik Air flight at Palma, Mallorca, Spain, on Sunday got murkier Monday when the airline’s authorities claimed that the pregnant woman said to have given birth aboard the Lagos-London bound Flight W3 101, had indeed concealed her pregnancy from the airline’s staff.

A statement from the airline said the pregnancy was just 12 weeks old, and so was not noticeable. It added further that no medical report was required from the woman in the first trimester of her pregnancy. The airline explained that the pregnancy was not big enough for the airline profiling officials to have stopped her from boarding the flight.
“This particular guest did not indicate her pregnancy status to the airline’s Passenger Service Agents (PSA) at check-in and because her pregnancy was 12 weeks old, the team didn't notice her status,” the airline alleged.
It is suspected that if indeed the pregnancy was 12 weeks old, then what occurred may have been a spontaneous abortion (better known as a miscarriage) of the pregnancy. But this could not be confirmed by the airline.
Arik said the flight with 216 passengers on board was forced to land in Palma, Mallorca, Spain, for the safety of the woman and other passengers, the airline had to pay 15,000 euros (about N3.2 million) for diverting the flight to another airport.
It was also gathered that the captain of the flight had to take off immediately to London after the woman was admitted in a hospital, so that the airline would not miss its landing slot at London Heathrow Airport.
Arik, in the statement, said the flight was diverted to Palma, Mallorca Airport, Spain at 5.44 pm, adding, “The passenger reportedly developed severe pains during the course of the flight. The pain was later coupled with bleeding from a suspected miscarriage.
“The passenger, who was initially attended to by two medical doctors on board the flight, was 12 weeks pregnant. She was later transferred to a hospital in Mallorca for further medical attention. The Arik flight later departed Mallorca at 8.00 pm for London Heathrow Airport.”
According to the airline, “This singular act further demonstrates that Arik Air is passionate about meeting individual needs of its guests and is ready to go the extra mile to ensure that safety is not compromised, no matter the cost.”
The airline said it would continue to investigate the incident to get more details of what happened to the passenger.
THISDAY, however, was unable to confirm if it was a medical doctor who had confirmed that the woman was 12 weeks pregnant or the airline plucked the tenure of the pregnancy from the air.
The airline’s statement also conflicted with initial reports from its own staff on Sunday that a delivery did indeed occur while the flight was airborne and that mother and child, who were left in the care of medical personnel at Palma, were stable. It is suspected that Arik decided to play safe to absolve itself of any possible liability in the event of a probe.
Women with full term pregnancies are not allowed to travel by air, according to International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) regulations. As such, intending pregnant passengers are required to present medical reports certifying that they are less than 32 weeks pregnant before they are allowed to fly.
All efforts by THISDAY to contact passengers who were on board the flight, the relations of the mother, and the two doctors who had assisted her, met a brick wall Monday.

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