Teen held after dead baby found on passenger plane

Indian woman tells police she wasn’t aware of pregnancy after AirAsia crew discover abandoned foetus in aircraft’s toilet

AirAsia
(Image credit: Anusak Laowilas/Getty Images)

A 19-year-old Indian woman who gave birth in the lavatory of an AirAsia airliner has told police that she didn’t know she was pregnant.

According to a statement by the airline, police in Delhi were called on Thursday after a lifeless foetus was found abandoned in one of the lavatories wrapped in toilet paper when the aircraft was being prepared for landing. The plane had just arrived in the Indian capital from the city of Imphal in the northeast of the country.

“The police were alerted and a doctor from the medical team at the Delhi International Airport confirmed that the baby had been delivered onboard,” the airline said.

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The teenager, a taekwondo competitor on her way to a tournament in South Korea with her coach, said that neither she nor her family were aware of the pregnancy. She claimed that “antacids and painkillers” she had taken the previous day had caused the stillbirth.

“She told police that she felt continuous pain a day before boarding her flight and so consumed painkillers and antacids, which led to excessive bleeding,” deputy commissioner of Delhi Police Sanjay Bhatia said.

“The woman refused to undergo a medical examination. We are consulting doctors if the medicines she consumed can cause any complications. The foetus has been sent for post mortem and reports that would confirm the cause of death are awaited,” he added.

Speaking to the Hindustan Times, a senior gynaecologist said that a painkiller or antacid “cannot cause an abortion” in the manner the woman claims.

“Concealment of birth by secret disposal of dead body” is a punishable offence in India, NDTV says, with a maximum term of two years and a fine.

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