Afghan woman gives birth aboard US evacuation plane

In a Twitter thread on Sunday, US Air Mobility Command said the woman gave birth aboard a C-17 transport plane during the second leg of his journey fleeing the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. The flight was from a transit base in the Middle East to the large US air base in Germany.

The US Air Force said the mother started having complications while the plane was in its flight altitude, generally greater than 28,000 feet (8,534 meters), due to the lower atmospheric pressure in the aircraft.

“The commander of the plane decided to descend to altitude to increase the air pressure in the plane, which helped stabilize and save the mother’s life,” said the tweet, which was sent from the US Air Mobility Command official account.

Once the plane was on the ground at Ramstein Base, personnel from the 86th Air Force Medical Group assisted with the delivery of the baby in the cargo hold of the C-17, according to the tweet. The mother and baby were then transported to a nearby medical center where they are in good condition.

Ramstein Air Base has become a key transit point for evacuees from Afghanistan.

General Hank Taylor told reporters at a Pentagon briefing on Saturday that C-17s were transporting evacuees from a Qatar air base to Germany to alleviate a backlog of people at the Qatar base, where many direct flights from Kabul have ended. .

The US military’s evacuation flights from the Afghan capital were halted for nearly eight hours on Friday because the assembly area at the US military base in Qatar was full, officials said.

Brig. Gen. Josh Olson told CNN on Saturday that the Ramstein base has a capacity of 5,000, but additional facilities under construction are expected to accommodate 7,500 by Sunday night.

Evacuees crowd inside a US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III transport plane on a flight to Qatar from Kabul, Afghanistan, August 15, 2021. The Air Force said Friday that the plane was carrying a record 823 people.

Olson said he expects evacuees to stay between 48 and 72 hours at the base. The US agreement with Germany stipulates that they should not stay longer than 10 days, he added.

Since the end of July, 22,000 people have been evacuated, General Taylor said. Among them, 17,000 have been evacuated since August 14.

The Air Force said on Friday that one of its C-17 flights from Afghanistan set a record for the number of people ever carried on the plane.

An Aug. 15 flight that the Air Force said originally carried 640 people actually had 823 on board, Air Mobility Command said in a tweet, after the initial tally did not include 183 children On board the plane.

CNN’s Atika Shubert and Ellie Kaufman contributed to this report.

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