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Last Updated: Friday, 27 October 2006, 11:33 GMT 12:33 UK
Emergency care baby's RAF flight
Baby being loaded into an RAF Hercules aircraft
A medical team arrived with the Hercules to collect the baby
A baby being treated in Swansea who needed specialist neo-natal care has been flown for treatment from south Wales to Glasgow by the RAF.

An RAF Hercules from Lyneham landed at Cardiff airport carrying a medical team from Yorkhill Hospital in Glasgow.

The hospital is one of four in the UK with a heart-and-lung incubator.

The four-engined aircraft, used to ferry troops and equipment to forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, landed with a specialist incubator.

The mission was to move the baby from Singleton Hospital in Swansea to the Glasgow children's unit and the heart-and-lung bypass equipment.

The three English machines were not available so a decision was taken to fly the baby to Scotland
Huw Williams, Swansea NHS Trust

Airport passengers saw the ambulance arrive and the baby taken on board the Hercules.

An onlooker at the airport said: "I've never seen an RAF aeroplane land on a civilian runway.

"It was quite a shock. Then an ambulance pulled up and paramedics jumped in with what looked like a special incubator.

Baby being loaded into an RAF Hercules aircraft
Airport passengers watched as the baby was loaded into the plane

"It caused quite a stir in the departure lounge. That baby must be in serious trouble to merit this kind of attention."

An RAF spokesman said: "It was an unusual mission to fly a medical team on this type of operation.

"We quite often fly patients to hospitals but in this case it was decided it was more suitable to bring the team from the children's hospital in Glasgow to Cardiff airport."

The Hercules left RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire to fly to Glasgow where the team and equipment were flown on the 90-minute journey to Cardiff.

Huw Williams of Swansea NHS Trust said: "There are only four ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) machines in the UK, three in England and one in Scotland. There isn't one in Wales.

"The three English ECMO machines were not available so a decision was taken to fly the baby to Scotland."

At the parents' request, no more details of the baby were released.

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