Singari Singh, his wife Pulasi, and his friend Subal Sahu, were aboard the Air Asia flight from Bhubaneswar to Bengaluru on May 23. Singh and Pulasi’s four-month-old daughter suffers from a heart ailment, and they were taking her to the city for treatment.
As reported in the Times of India, approximately 40 minutes before they were due to land in Bengaluru, the baby, who had just finished being breastfed, started showing signs of breathlessness.
When Priyanka Pradhan, a senior cabin crew member who was tending to the child realised that the situation was becoming worse, she immediately alerted the flight commander, Captain Nishanth Nair, that the child had to be deplaned and given immediate medical attention.
“We were extremely anxious, and wanted to save the child. It was a very tense situation, but when the cabin crew informed us that she had opened her eyes, we were positive that she would be fine. The airport had prepared the West end of the runway for us so that we did not waste time turning the flight around as we were coming from the East. Within 20 minutes we took off to Bengaluru,” said Nishanth, who hails from Kerala and has 16-years of aviation experience, to TOI.
With each passing moment proving critical to the baby’s health, the captain along with his co-pilot Rootu Goswami quickly considered their options and decided to land in the Hyderabad airport.
After contacting the Hyderabad Air Traffic Control (ATC) and informing them of the situation, the pilots were able to land well within 25 minutes, and the airport crew in Hyderabad had ensured that all preparations were in place to receive the child and her family.
An Odisha native, Singh was taking his daughter to Bengaluru’s Narayana Hrudayalaya for her treatment and had arranged the funds with the help of his friend, Sahu. Both men are workers at a biscuit factory. “We were worried. Fortunately, the flight staff helped us and language was no barrier,” said Sahu.
Thanks to the quick presence of mind and timely intervention by the airline captain, Singh’s four-month-old baby will now live to tell the tale and forever remember the kindness of a stranger that saved her life.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)