Earlier this month, a new mother made headlines after unexpectedly giving birth to a bouncing baby girl on board a Los Angeles-bound China Airlines flight, some 30,000 feet in the air.
The pregnant Taiwanese woman, who was reportedly eight weeks away from her due date, was traveling from Taipei to Los Angeles when her water broke. The passenger was six hours into the 19-hour flight across the Pacific, and although the pilot diverted the plane, the crew members had to request assistance from passengers.
Fortunately, a doctor who happened to be on board delivered the baby girl 30 minutes before the landing. However, as soon as the plane landed in Anchorage, Alaska, U.S. authorities immediately took the newborn away from her mother.
The woman – identified only by her surname Jian – was deported from the country. It is also likely that she will have to pay for the cost of diverting the flight to Alaska, which could be millions of Taiwanese dollars, according to Shanghaist.
“Compensation (to the airline) will likely be inevitable,” said Taiwan's Transportation Minister Chen Jian-yu.
Wondering how someone could be so cruel as to separate a mother from her newborn daughter? Well, there’s more to the story. Although the incident was initially reported as “miraculous” and “incredible,” the entire thing has since taken a dark twist.
Lucienne Chen, a former flight attendant with the China Airlines, took to Facebook to provide her account of the incident with information provided from the on-board cabin crew. As it turns out, Jian allegedly failed to inform staff that she was 36 weeks pregnant when she boarded the long-haul flight. As Taiwan’s aviation regulations dictate, expectant mother over 32 weeks require a doctor’s note to travel.
The lengthy social media post also claims that when the woman went into labor, she tried to hold off giving birth while repeatedly asking “Are we in U.S. airspace yet?”
Flight passenger Amira Rajput told ABC News that U.S .Customs and Border Protection agents boarded the plane after it landed in Alaska, requesting to see Jian's passport.
“He told me that this is something foreign women do, to try and deliver overseas for citizenship,” Rajput recalled. “This is a political issue. People die to come to this country.”
Jian’s daughter is now under the care of state authorities in Alaska while she has since been deported by the U.S. immigration authorities and separated from her newborn baby. However, upon returning to Taiwan, she allegedly told the local authorities that her daughter had been granted U.S. citizenship, though Customs and Border Protection officials declined to confirm the reports.
Apparently, people born on planes within 12 miles of the United States' territorial waters are eligible for U.S. citizenship at birth, according to a technical guidance document published by the State Department. However, instances like these clearly show that people are using this law to their advantage.
Check out flight crew’s viral reaction when the baby was born in the video below: