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‘Sky baby’

First published on Loop PNG by Carmella Gware. Dated: 27th September 2021

Pictures by Manolos Aviation Ltd

It was a story of triumph and instant love as a Manolos nurse delivered a healthy baby boy amongst the clouds.

Nicknamed “sky baby”, and named after the pilot, Captain Jurgen, the Goilala infant returned home on Friday morning after a heartfelt farewell by Manolos Aviation staff.

Naomi Pamaraka graduated from nursing college in 1999 and immediately started working in accidents and emergency.

She has worked in acute areas within the wards but never the labour ward.

All Nurse Pamaraka could remember was bringing her overnight bag with her as they lifted off from the Manolos base in Lae on Wednesday, the 15th of September.

Chief executive officer and veteran pilot, Captain Jurgen Ruh, had received a call regarding a labour complication from the remote village of Tanipai in Goilala district, Central Province.

Their plan was to medevac the woman in distress and her husband to Port Moresby and spend the night there. The pilot, however, had to change his course to Lae due to bad weather.

Twenty minutes after takeoff from Tanipai and baby Jurgen was welcomed into the world by a rather surprised Nr Pamaraka.

“To be honest, it’s something that I cannot express much about,” said a tearful Nr Pamaraka. “It was my first time. I’ve never delivered a baby before. To me it was exciting but emotional at the same time.”

Nr Pamaraka was keeping tabs on Angela Daniel’s contractions as they lifted off from a hill at Tanipai, in the Woitape Rural LLG – an area devoid of a health facility.

“I was so surprised,” she said. “Fespla pen kam go mi taimim so mi ting, ah beibi mas silip across so em bai olsem.

“Second pain em pilim ken, em kam liklik taim, em stop, but a bit longer. So mi tok, ok mi kam bai mi raitim referral blo em lo go lo hospital. But then, after disla pain em pinis em tokim mi, ‘nes, beibi kam nau’.”

Nr Pamaraka was overwhelmed with a mixture of emotions as she held on tightly to the baby and willed the captain to turn around and see the miracle.

An ecstatic Captain Ruh said he had no idea until after he had landed the chopper.

“It’s our first time we delivered a baby inside the helicopter,” he stated. “I landed here, I looked at my phone and there was a text message from Naomi at the back saying: ‘We delivered in the helicopter’. I looked back in there, she was with the baby.”

After spending 10 days at the ANGAU Memorial Provincial Hospital, baby Jurgen was embraced for the last time at the Manolos base before his namesake flew him back home with his parents to join his four older siblings.

Of the five children, baby Jurgen is the first to be immunised.

Manolos also gave baby Jurgen a framed aerial birth certificate. The document will serve

to remind the medivac team that there are still many rural families who need access to basic healthcare.

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