Page last updated at 11:26 GMT, Thursday, 19 March 2009

Newborn 'left behind' on NZ plane

Generic image of a aeroplane wing
Mother and baby were admitted to hospital when they landed

New Zealand police are investigating whether a woman abandoned her baby after giving birth aboard a flight to Auckland from Samoa, officials say.

Initial reports say the woman, believed to be a 30-year-old Samoan, left the baby on the plane upon landing.

The baby was found by an airline worker in a toilet compartment more than an hour later, local media reported.

Mother and child have since been reunited and are being cared for in hospital, an airline statement said.

"A female guest gave birth on board our flight DJ94 from [the Samoan capital] Apia to Auckland this morning," according to the Pacific Blue airline.

The flight - carrying 150 passengers - arrived at 0520 on Thursday (1620GMT on Wednesday), it said.

"We are relieved to have been informed that both mother and child are reunited, are well and are now being looked after in hospital," it said.

Advanced pregnancy

The woman was trying to exit the airport but had misplaced her passport, New Zealand TV quoted airport sources as saying.

When she sought the help of the authorities, they noticed she was pale and her clothing was blood-stained.

The newborn was found shortly afterwards by an airline worker. One source said the baby was found in the toilet rubbish bin.

It was not immediately clear whether any of the other passengers or crew on the flight were aware that the woman was in labour.

Pacific Blue says passengers who are more than 36 weeks pregnant must have medical clearance to fly.

Police said they were investigating whether the airline had been advised the woman was in an advanced stage of pregnancy.

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