JEDDAH: By IRFAN MOHAMMED
A Saudi Arabian Airlines flight transporting illegal Ethiopian nationals from the Kingdom to Ethiopia was forced to make an emergency landing after a pregnant passenger went into labor.
The flight from Jeddah to Addis Ababa landed at Jazan’s King Abdullah Airport on Wednesday afternoon after the woman began experiencing labor pains.
Illegal workers on board the Saudia flight had previously been awaiting departure at the Shumaisy Deportation Center in Makkah. The pilot requested an emergency landing and health authorities in Jazan transported the woman to Jazan General Hospital, where she gave birth to a baby boy.
The flight resumed its journey after the woman was taken to hospital.
Neima Kedire Ismail and her son are in good health, sources told Arab News on Friday.
Jazan Gov. Prince Mohammed bin Nasser has ordered health authorities in the province to provide the best medical care to the Ethiopian woman and her newborn. Dr. Alaa Sadiq, the hospital’s director, and heads of the gynecology and pediatrics departments are personally following up on the case at the governor’s directive.
The Ethiopian community has expressed its gratitude to the Jazan governor for his gesture and assistance.
Ethiopian Consulate officials from Jeddah are also in touch with the mother through the hospital. Women form majority of Ethiopian expats in the Kingdom. Birth rates are said to be low among the community.
Saudi authorities are deploying special health teams to monitor the health condition of inmates at the deportation centers. Two Ethiopian women were referred for delivery after they developed labor pains in Riyadh, according to Saad Al-Qahtani, the Health Ministry’s spokesman in Riyadh.
According to media reports, there are five ambulances in place at Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport, commissioned through the Red Cross Society, for transporting patients from among passenger coming from Saudi Arabia.