Navy’s midair delivery for mother
Wednesday 2nd October 2013, 5:10PM BST.
A mother gave birth to a baby boy on board a Royal Navy Search and Rescue helicopter, which was taking her to hospital.
Heavily pregnant Ella McLachlan was being flown from the Isles of Scilly to the Royal Cornwall Hospital at Treliske, near Truro.
Crews on the helicopter, from RNAS Culdrose, desperately tried to reach the hospital in time but could not make it – and baby Marcus Daniel McLachlan was delivered in mid-air.
He was born weighing 5lb 3oz and is believed to be only the second baby delivered in a Royal Navy helicopter.
Mrs McLachlan, husband Barney and baby Marcus were then quickly whisked to the Royal Cornwall Hospital.
They are all doing well after the surprise delivery.
Mr McLachlan, a baker, said: “We thought we’d have a relaxing day. Then at the end of the afternoon Ella started feeling some cramps.
“We went to see the midwife for an examination and she confirmed Ella was in labour and that she needed to call Culdrose to pick us up.
“The Culdrose boys were immense, absolutely phenomenal. At one point they had to shine a light for Sue.
“They were hugely caring and did us brilliantly. They always deliver and always look after us.”
Royal Navy Search and Rescue helicopter R193 from 771 Naval Air Squadron at RNAS Culdrose was called at 5.05pm to assist a heavily pregnant woman who had gone into labour.
Rescue 193, a Royal Navy Sea King helicopter, was travelling with midwife Sue Merritt, from the local hospital in Helston – standard practice for expectant mothers.
Pilot Flight Lieutenant Jon Owen said: “I gave the crew a ’10 minutes left to run’ heads up so they could prepare for arrival.
“However, the midwife shouted back that baby was preparing for his own immediate arrival and that we needed to get ready to deliver in the air.
“I simply looked at the other pilot, Lieutenant Paul Smalley, and we continued to fly as mother nature took over.”
Baby Marcus was born onboard call-sign R193 at 7.24pm, approximately two miles south east of Truro.
It is not clear at this stage what will be on the birth certificate.
Lieutenant Commander Chuck Norris, the observer on board added: “It was an exciting evening.
“We planned to transfer the mum direct to Treliske Hospital in Truro but baby had other ideas.”
He assisted the midwife, along with Petty Officer Aircrewman Gary Kneesh, for the birth.
“It’s pretty uncommon to announce to the Coast Guard that you had launched with seven persons on board, but were preparing to land with eight,” he said.
The Sea King helicopters of 771 NAS are scrambled more than 200 times a year.