The flight had already taken off when the mother went into labor and began having complications.
An Afghan mother gave birth to her baby in the cargo bay of a U.S. Air Force C-17 during an evacuation from the Middle East on Saturday. Officials said that the flight had taken off from an Intermediate Staging Base in the Middle East when the mother went into labor and began having complications, reports FOX News. The aircraft commander made the swift decision to lower the C-17's altitude to increase air pressure in the aircraft. "The aircraft commander decided to descend in altitude to increase air pressure in the aircraft, which helped stabilize and save the mother's life," said the tweet, which was sent from the US Air Mobility Command's official account. After landing in the Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany (a key transit point for evacuees from Afghanistan), airmen from the 86th Medical Group came aboard and delivered the child in the C-17’s cargo bay. The mother and her baby girl were transported to a nearby medical facility, officials said.
Medical support personnel from the 86th Medical Group help an Afghan mother and family off a U.S. Air Force C-17, call sign Reach 828, moments after she delivered a child aboard the aircraft upon landing at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Aug. 21. (cont..) pic.twitter.com/wqR9dFlW1o— Air Mobility Command (@AirMobilityCmd) August 21, 2021
The US Air Force said the mother began to have complications while the evacuation flight was at its flight altitude, typically above 28,000 feet (8,534 meters), due to the lower air pressure in the plane. But as of now, the two are in good condition. US airmen are preparing Ramstein Air Force Base to house thousands of evacuees arriving from Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover. According to CNN, Gen. Hank Taylor told journalists during a briefing at the Pentagon on Saturday that C-17s were moving evacuees from an airbase in Qatar to Germany. This move is being made to relieve a backlog of people at the Qatar base, where many flights coming directly from Kabul have been terminating. According to officials, US military evacuation flights from the Afghan capital were on hold for almost eight hours as the staging area at the US military base in Qatar was full.
U.S. Afghan evacuation flights paused as processing facility full - https://t.co/vvr6ixuCQJ— Disabled Senior (@disabledsenior) August 21, 2021
The Air Force said one of its C-17 flights from Afghanistan had set a record for the number of people ever carried aboard the aircraft. The German airbase has a capacity for 5,000 people, but extra facilities under construction should accommodate 7,500, said Brig. Gen. Josh Olson. He expects evacuees to stay for between 48 and 72 hours at the base. The German states have entered into an agreement with the US stating that they should not stay for more than 10 days, he added.
On our flight and getting ready for takeoff pic.twitter.com/bGaYREsbxT— Clarissa Ward (@clarissaward) August 20, 2021
Freelance journalist Bilal Sarwary was one of many who had planned to raise his daughter in his home country but has now been forced to flee. The former BBC journalist had spent 20 years reporting on the country, starting as a fixer and translator in 2001. "Today's the day that a generation of Afghans have buried their dreams and aspirations and our lives," he said, according to the BBC. "This city to us is our home, despite its contradictions we called it home, we're raised from here. We hope the Taliban can learn from the lessons of the past… and we can prove that we can move away from the tanks and bullets, towards a road where everyone can see themselves." Many who have fled the country are professionals and graduates, and Sarwary worries of what this "brain drain" will mean for Afghanistan that he said, was "a country where good people, they don't grow on trees".
Very sorry for this, Bilal. Nobody deserves to leave their homeland because it isn’t safe anymore.— Nishtha Gautam (@TedhiLakeer) August 22, 2021
Solidarity with all Afghans who are forced to flee or awaiting a reduced way of life.