<TABLE id=article_edit cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 border=0><TD class=Heading>Mystery shrouds death of child in plane By Emmanuelle Landais, Staff Reporter; Gulf News Published: October 21, 2007, 23:04<TD class=ArticleBody><!--maxlength:3790-->Dubai: A newborn infant died on an Emirates flight from Mumbai via Dubai to Manchester last week from undetermined causes. Aditi, a three-and-a-halfmonth-old Indian girl, died in her mother's arms, according to Indian reports, after milk and blood flowed from her nose when her mother started breastfeeding her after takeoff. An Emirates spokesperson told Gulf News the EK 501 flight from Mumbai to Dubai carrying the infant and her parents had to turn back shortly after takeoff when the baby developed serious symptoms. "Mumbai was the closest operationally suitable airport when the decision was taken to return to the ground. The captain notified the airport authorities and an airport doctor conducted an emergency check-up on arrival. The infant was taken to the nearest hospital where staff confirmed she had passed away. Reasons for the demise are still under investigation," said the spokesperson. Well equipped "Emirates empathises with the aggrieved family and extends all possible assistance in this difficult period," they said. According to the airline, Emirates aircraft carry extensive on-board medical kits including a selection of commonly used drugs, intravenous fluids, resuscitation equipment, first-aid items, and even equipment to handle on-board deliveries. Ashok and Sunita Shukla still do not know the cause of their child's death. "She breathed her last in her mother's lap. I could not do anything. I was helpless. I saw her die," Ashok Shukla was quoted as saying by Midday, a Mumbai newspaper. Gulf News tried to contact Shukla, who works for British Telecom in Leeds, UK, but he was unavailable for comment. On October 14, aboard the Dubai-bound aircraft, Aditi apparently played with her parents until the 4.30am takeoff when she started crying. Thinking the child was hungry, her mother started breastfeeding her, but blood and milk soon began oozing from her nostrils and her face turned green. Midday reported that the crew was alerted and a doctor on the flight was summoned. Ashok said the doctor, however, was not allowed to examine his daughter. "We were flying over Karachi. Instead of landing at the nearest airport, we were brought back to Mumbai. A doctor was waiting on the runway. He examined my child and declared her dead on arrival," said Shukla. "'The couple reqeusted a bassinet but did not get one." According to Midday, Ashok said his parents had urged them not to fly with the baby but the couple wanted to spend Aditi's first birthday in the UK. "Aditi was healthy and had no ailments since birth," he said. The body has been sent for an autopsy but police in India are waiting for the report. Doctor says: Month-old infants can travel safely Babies can travel on aircraft without any specific risk to their health from the age of one month, said Dr Chaura, paediatrician at Welcare Hospital in Dubai. During the flight parents should make sure the child's temperature is stable by wrapping the child in warm clothes. "The only real problem is the discomfort from the pressure in the plane during long distance flights which might cause pain in the ears and the baby to cry a lot," she said. One way to avoid this is by placing cotton wool in the infant's ears. "A child of three and-a-half months should be fine to travel by air. Feeding should continue as normal as well. The only reason a child might die is from sudden infant death. One way to avoid this is by lying the child in the supine position - on its back," she said.