Air-born! Helicopter crew deliver baby at 1,000ft after mother can't get to hospital in time from remote home on Britain's most northerly isle
Woman airlifted from Unst and going to nearest maternity ward in Shetland But coastguard air crew delivered baby at 06:30, 10 minutes before landing Mother is doing well along with baby, delivered by a winchman paramedic
16:05 GMT, 11 December 2012
19:29 GMT, 11 December 2012
A helicopter crew today delivered a baby at 1,000ft after the mother-to-be did not make it to hospital in time from her remote home on Britain's most northerly isle.
The woman was airlifted from Unst, Scotland, and was on her way to the nearest maternity ward in Shetland when the coastguard air crew realised they would have to play midwives themselves.
The 7lb baby was delivered by winchman paramedic Marcus Wigfull at around 6.30am this morning, 10 minutes before landing at Lerwick hospital where the child and mother are said to be doing well.
Modern midwives: Winchman paramedic Marcus Wigfull, left, and winch operator paramedic Friedie Manson, right, kept their cool and delivered the baby onboard the coastguard helicopter Romeo Charlie
The Shetland Coastguard helicopter Romeo Charlie touches down at the Clickimin landing site, in Lerwick, to deliver mother and baby
He visited maternity wards in his paramedic training but this was his first delivery on a helicopter.
Mr Wigfull said: ‘To be honest, I wasn't nervous. It all happened so quickly and my training just kicked in. It all went very smoothly. There were no complications.
‘We knew we had about a 15 to 20-minute transfer time to the hospital but within five minutes of bringing the mother on board we realised we weren't going to make it to the hospital.’
The 40-year-old, who has two children aged five and 10, said of the woman: ‘She did everything she was asked to do and the father was very supportive.’
The Coastguard received a call from the unnamed mother's doctor at 4.30am, asking about ferry times from Unst as she was in labour.
Up above: The Coastguard received a call from the unnamed mother's doctor at 4.30am, asking about ferry times from Unst (pictured), Britain's most northerly isle, as she was in labour
Location: The woman went into labour on the remote island of Unst, which is the third-largest island in Shetland
After a discussion they decided instead to launch the helicopter which landed 90 minutes later and took the woman and her partner on board.
'To be honest, I wasn't nervous. It all happened so quickly and my training just kicked in. It all went very smoothly. There were no complications'
Marcus Wigfull, winchman paramedic
The baby could not wait and was delivered at 6.28am above a small island called Lunna Holm.
Shetland Coastguard watch manager Alex Dodge said: ‘This is the first time that a baby has been delivered on the Coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at Sumburgh in the Shetland Islands.
'We would like to congratulate the mother and father on the birth of their son, who is reported to be doing well.’
Unst is the third-largest island in Shetland after the Mainland and Yell. It is the northernmost of the inhabited British Isles, with an area of 46 sq m.
It is closer to Norway than England, with the western Scandanavian coast just 185 miles away to the east. By way of contrast Edinburgh is 340 miles to the south.
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