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September 5, 2013

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Air controllers clear path for flight with sick baby

AIR traffic controllers in Shanghai and north China gave priority to a Shanghai Airlines flight with a seriously ill baby on board, airlines officials revealed yesterday.

The air traffic regulators allowed the Shanghai Airlines’ flight FM9132 from Tianjin to Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport to take off before  schedule and also cleared the flight path on the way, an official with national air traffic management said yesterday.

It was all because the condition of a 15-month-old baby boy deteriorated after all the passengers had got onboard and the cabin crew shut the door at around 11am on August 26.

After the crew announced that the flight would be delayed by at least one hour, the boy’s mother panicked and started crying loudly, said Lu Yuan, the chief flight attendant.

The boy was being taken to the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center for advanced treatment, but developed complications after boarding the flight. The mother said the boy suddenly developed rashes on the face, and had also been running fever for 10 days, Lu said.

The captain put in a request to the air controllers, who allowed the flight to jump the queue and take off at around 11:30am.

Other air traffic controllers between Tianjin and Shanghai cleared the route, asking other aircraft to give way after being informed by their counterparts in Tianjin, the air traffic management official said.

The aircraft landed at the Shanghai Hongqiao airport five minutes earlier than scheduled.

An ambulance was waiting at the airport apron and rushed the sick baby to the hospital in Shanghai.

A doctor with the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center said the baby underwent urgent surgery and was responding well to the treatment.

The boy’s life would have been in danger if the flight was delayed for more than an hour, the doctor said. The boy suffered from hemophagocytic syndrome that causes bleeding under the skin. The continuous fever had also damaged the liver and kidney. He should be able to leave the hospital in 10 days.



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