Over the weekend of March 9 and 10, a Saudia Airlines plane that was en route to Kuala Lumpur had to turn back to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where it departed from.
The reason behind the pilot's request to return to the airport? A passenger had left her baby behind.
Left baby behind
According to UAE-based media Gulf News, a Saudi mother on flight SV832 alerted cabin crew that she had left her baby at the boarding area of the terminal in King Abdulaziz International Airport.
The pilot then requested permission from air traffic control to head back to the airport.
Details on how the mother left her child behind in the airport's terminal is unclear.
Air traffic controllers surprised
In a viral video posted to YouTube, the pilot in question can be heard relaying the story to air traffic control and requesting permission to turn back:
Here's a summary and translation of the video's mostly Arabic exchange, as provided by Gulf News:
- The pilot stated, "May God be with us. Can we come back?"
- An operator asked for the flight number, and consulted another colleague about the protocol, saying: "This flight is requesting to come back… a passenger forgot her baby in the waiting area, the poor thing."
- The operator then asked the pilot to confirm the reason for turning back.
- The pilot responded, "We told you, a passenger left her baby in the terminal and refuses to continue the flight.”
- The operator replied, "Ok, head back to the gate. This is totally a new one for us!"
In case you were wondering, it is uncommon for planes to turn around or divert midair.
Typically, flights are cleared to turn back in the case of major emergencies or when special circumstances force the pilot to turn back.
Reports did not say whether or not the lady was eventually reunited with her baby.
Top image from Saudia Airlines Facebook page