La Paz, Feb 17 (IANS/EFE) The girl who was born on board a TAM airliner will receive free plane tickets to travel within the country until she is 21 years old, as well as a college scholarship, the Bolivian press reported.
Lt. Col. Jerry Holters, the head of public relations for the Bolivian air force, which owns TAM, told the daily La Razon Tuesday that the airline decided to grant those benefits to the child who was born last Sunday in the aisle of one of the airline’s jets while it was in still in flight.
‘The girl will receive free tickets to travel around the country until she is 21 – perhaps that will be extended a little bit more, that will be evaluated. And she will receive a scholarship to study at the Educational Unit of the FAB (as the Bolivian air force is known here),’ the officer said.
Holters said the family had decided to baptise the baby Tami Fabiola in honour of TAM and the FAB.
The baby was born Sunday night as the plane was flying between the cities of Cochabamba and La Paz shortly after her mother gave a cry of pain and flight attendants, a doctor and a nurse who were on board rushed over to see what was wrong.
It turned out that the woman was on the verge of giving birth and the medical personnel positioned the woman in the aisle of the plane as it was on landing approach and just a few minutes later – but before touchdown – Tami Fabiola emerged with no apparent complications.
The mother’s labour pains began as the jet was flying at 24,000 feet and the pilot, Col. Ivan Gonzalez, asked the managers of the La Paz airport to give him landing priority, while the passenger was being attended to as hygienically as possible, Holters said.
He added that the mother of the newborn, Lourdes Mamani, was not due to give birth for another two weeks and that her pregnancy was not detected by TAM officials prior to the flight because she was wearing a bulky sweater.
In remarks to the media from the El Alto hospital where she is receiving medical treatment, Mamani said that she was so desperate and nervous about her situation that she didn’t recall feeling any pain during the birth itself.
‘The TAM company helped me. The pains came over me in the plane. It was days before my baby was supposed to be born, but everyone helped me,’ she said.