Woman who gave birth on plane charged with abandoning baby

March 25th, 2009 - 1:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Wellington, March 25 (DPA) A 29-year-old Samoan woman who gave birth on a flight to New Zealand was charged Wednesday with abandoning her baby girl in an aircraft toilet.
The woman was remanded in custody when she appeared in the Manukau District Court. She faces a maximum seven-year prison sentence for abandoning the baby, who is now in custody of the government’s child welfare department.

The woman, whose name was suppressed by the court, faced a second charge of assault on a child, Radio New Zealand reported.

The woman underwent surgery at Middlemore Hospital after what police said was a difficult and complicated birth on board the plane as it arrived in Auckland from Apia, the capital of Samoa, Thursday.

The baby was reportedly found by cleaners in the plane’s toilet rubbish bin after the 150 passengers and cabin crew, who reportedly knew nothing about the birth, had disembarked.

The woman was identified when authorities noticed her bleeding as she told immigration officials that she had misplaced her passport.

News reports said the woman was flying to New Zealand as part of a group recruited to work as seasonal fruit pickers. The airline said it did not know she was pregnant.

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