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Air traffic controllers make way for flight carrying sick baby

AIR traffic controllers in Shanghai and north China gave priority to a flight carrying a seriously ill baby whose condition was worsening after the mother became concerned that an announced delay would endanger the baby, officials said today.

The controllers allowed Shanghai Airlines’ flight FM9132 from Tianjin to Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport to fly earlier than its scheduled departure time and asked all other aircraft en route to make way for the flight, according to an official with national air traffic management.

The condition of the Tianjin 15-month-old suddenly deteriorated after all the passengers got onboard and the cabin door was just closed at around 11am a week ago Monday, the airline said.

The baby boy’s mother suddenly cried out when crew members announced the flight was to be delayed for at least an hour, said Lu Yuan, the chief attendant on the flight.

“The mother said many red rashes had suddenly appeared on the face of her son, who had had a fever for 10 days while his extremities had swollen and it appeared his life was in danger,” Lu said. The parents planned to take the baby to Shanghai Children’s Medical Center for more advanced treatment.

The captain then called for help from the controllers, who quickly allowed the aircraft to jump the queue to take off at around 11:30am.

Other air traffic controllers between Tianjin and Shanghai also asked 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 on airport apron and rushed the child to the medical center. The baby had an operation that afternoon and has been in stable condition, a doctor with the medical center said.

“The boy would have been in danger had the flight been delayed for more than an hour,” the doctor said.


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