Air-born(e) baby Rosie

The quaint tale of the stork delivering babies has well and truly been proven a myth, with the truth being, in the Torres Strait at least, that babies are actually delivered in helicopters
ABOVE: Left to right: Rosie McEachern - Advance Care Paramedic, QAS); Mark Kennealy - Co-Pilot; the mother, 19 years old Basau Warapa – with baby ‘Rosie’;  Ian Henning - Aircraft Captain; and Sam Fielder - Rescue Crewman.

PNG’s Basau Warapa, after a painful two days of labour pains, gave birth to her baby while in flight 1200 metres above sea-level, over Moa at 6.26am on April 5, during a routine medical transfer operation travelling between Saibai and Thursday Island Hospital.
Ms Warapa, who is 19-years-old and from the coastal PNG village of Sigabaduru, told the Torres News the experience was "painful" but her flourishing smile while holding her baby girl, weighing 2.46kg (5 pounds 13 ounces), is ample evidence that the trauma was worthwhile.
The amazing story, which garnered headlines across Australia, almost had a tragic ending, however, with the baby girl "not breathing and limp" when born, according to Queensland Ambulance Service Advanced Care Paramedic Rosie McEachern, who was in attendance during the birth.
Quick action by Ms McEachern, including CPR on the newborn, resulting in the baby breathing by itself by the time the helicopter had landed at the helipad at Thursday Island Hospital.
Ms Warapa has honoured Ms McEachern’s pivotal role in the birth of the child by naming it "Rosie"; a tribute which the paramedic says is a tremendous honour.
As the mother has not had any pre-natal care in PNG, Ms McEachern said it is unknown how long the mother had been carrying the child prior to its birth.
Helping Ms McEachern during the birth was helicopter Rescue Crewman Sam Fielder, who has been in the Torres Strait since the start of the year.
At the front of the helicopter was Aircraft Captain Ian Henning and Co-Pilot Mark Kennealy, both of whom will remember the birth of a child onboard for some time yet.
Captain Henning says aircraft controllers in Brisbane took a while to catch on when he announced on the radio that there were now six people onboard the airborne helicopter, despite it having left Saibai with only five onboard.
Mr Kennealy, who had only arrived in the Torres Strait about 12 hours earlier for a short, 11-day deployment, said he was hopeful of some adventure while in the region.
"I knew there would be adventure up here but I certainly wasn’t expecting it on my first shift," he said. "I certainly got what I was looking for."
Australian Helicopters, which operates the aircraft under contract to Queensland Emergency Services, says the birth was a first.
"This was the first time a baby had been born on an Australian Helicopters aircraft in the Torres Strait," said General Manager of Operations at Australian Helicopters, Peter Heath.
"The capability to undertake such a mission has only become possible since January this year with the introduction of the Bell 412 Helicopter which replaces a single engine Bell Longranger helicopter."
Mother and child were due to return to PNG after about a week in the Thursday Island Hospital.


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