RN air crew's special delivery as baby born on rescue helicopter
A baby boy has been welcomed into the world after his mother gave birth on-board a Royal Navy rescue helicopter which was taking her to hospital.
Ella McLaughlin was being flown with midwife Sue Merritt from the Isles of Scilly when the child was delivered on Tuesday evening.
They were en-route to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Treliske, Truro, when the chopper was forced to land at a makeshift landing strip due to heavy fog.
But just before the chopper from RNAS Culdrose landed, coastguards received a call on the radio from 771 squadron saying the crew of seven had "just increased to eight".
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Pilot Flight Lieutenant Jon Owen said: "I gave the crew a 'ten minutes left to run' heads up so they could prepare for arrival. However, the midwife shouted back that baby was preparing for his own immediate arrival and that we needed to get ready to deliver in the air."
Flt Lt Owen added: "I simply looked at the other pilot, Lieutenant Paul Smalley, and we continued to fly as mother nature took over."
Coastguards initially received an emergency call from South Western Ambulance Service at around 5pm requesting a helicopter for a heavily pregnant woman who had gone into labour on the Isles of Scilly.
The baby, weighing 5lb 3oz, was born at 7.24pm and has been named Marcus Daniel. He is thought to be only the second baby born in a Royal Navy helicopter. His father Barney, a baker on St Martin's in the Scilly Isles, said: "The Culdrose boys were immense, absolutely phenomenal. At one point they had to shine a light for Sue. They were hugely caring and did us brilliantly. They always deliver and always look after us."
The family were taken to the Royal Cornwall Hospital, where mother and baby were said to be doing well yesterday.
Lieutenant Commander Chuck Norris, the observer on board, said: "We planned to transfer the mum direct to Treliske Hospital in Truro but baby had other ideas.
"It's pretty uncommon to announce to the coastguard that you had launched with seven persons on board, but were set to land with eight!"