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Angola woman gives birth at 38,000 feet

March 10, 2013 at 4:28 PM

NEW YORK, March 10 (UPI) -- A young Angola woman gave birth during a flight from South Africa to New York, a witness to the event says.

Fatawmatt Kaba, 17, went into labor at 38,000 feet aboard South African Airways Flight 203 about four hours into the 16-hour flight Saturday and delivered a son with the help of three passengers -- two doctors and a nurse, Jamahl Winter told the New York Daily News.

"You could see his little umbilical cord still attached," Winters, 32, said. "It's amazing. I didn't think stuff like that really happened in real life. I thought it was something that happened in TV and movies."

Dr. Julie Williamson, a 41-year-old California pediatric anesthesiologist, described the midair delivery as "exhilarating."

"While there was a lot of discussion whether to divert the flight, she made the decision for us by saying, 'Push!' And when we checked, the baby was crowning, and she delivered him in two pushes," Williamson told the Daily News.

"He nursed right away. And she was a very strong woman -- never cried, never complained. It was amazing."

Kaba and her newborn son, named Mamel Joell, were resting comfortably later at Jamaica Medical Center in New York.

"I'm very happy," Kaba told the newspaper. "I'm fine. He's fine."

Under U.S. law, Mamel is not an American citizen because he was born outside U.S. airspace, the Daily News said.

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