Two Massachusetts women helped resuscitate a six-month old baby who had stopped breathing on board a flight to Puerto Rico earlier this month, and helped keep the baby breathing for two tense hours until the plane was able to land in Wilmington, N.C., according to family and other passengers.
Jeanne Gallahue was on board a Dec. 8 JetBlue flight from Washington D.C. to San Juan, Puerto Rico with her family for a vacation when she said she heard the flight attendant call for anyone with medical experience to come to the rear of the plane.
A baby had stopped breathing.
Gallahue, 63, who has worked as a trainer for first responders, said she and a fellow passenger, Rose Smith, a cardiac nurse originally from Worcester, rushed to the back of the plane and began CPR. The baby, Smith said, had to be revived repeatedly.
“We counted, and she went under about eight times, and we were able to bring her back,” said Smith, who currently works in Washington D.C.
Gallahue said she sent for her daughter, Nikki Sullivan, who also has a six-month-old.
“I went to the back and saw mom with a pretty grey baby,” Sullivan said.
A JetBlue spokesman confirmed Sunday that the flight was diverted for a medical reason but said he could not provide details of the incident. A dispatcher at the Wilmington International Airport said Sunday that an airplane landed there for a medical emergency on Dec. 8, but said he could not give further details.
Gallahue and Smith were assisted by another passenger, Nancy Hernandez, 50, who said she is a fire department lieutenant in Puerto Rico and helped translate for the baby’s family, who only spoke Spanish.
“She broke down and cried when she got home,” said Hernandez’s daughter-in law, Laura Rodriguez. “She was really happy knowing the baby was fine. She says she has had a lot of emergencies, but nothing like this.”