Baby born on rescue helicopter celebrates first birthday with crew

UK News | Published:

Torran was born 1,400 feet over Penzance.

A baby born mid-flight on a search and rescue helicopter has celebrated his first birthday with the crew who brought him into the world.

Baby Torran MacDonald was delivered two weeks earlier than expected on August 18 last year after his mother Alicia went into labour while officiating at a friend’s wedding on the Isles of Scilly.

As there was no midwife on the islands, HM Coastguard picked up midwife Linda Benson from Treliske, Cornwall, before flying to bring the family to hospital on the mainland.

However, Torran was born while 1,400 feet over Penzance, with help from Ms Benson and the helicopter crew.

Mrs MacDonald, a celebrant from Inverness in the Highlands, said: “Torran obviously didn’t want to wait and he made his entrance to the world onboard the helicopter. We were safe and well and everyone was absolutely amazing but it was all a bit of a rush.

“So we wanted to mark Torran’s first birthday in a memorable way and what better than to visit the base and say a proper thanks to the fantastic Coastguard teams, midwife Linda and everyone involved. They’ll always be an important part of our family.”

The happy family returned to the base and had tea and cake with crew members Paul Forbes and Andy Batchelor, as well as Yogi Brunner, who was flying the helicopter that night.


Captain Mark Coupland, deputy search and rescue flight operations manager and chief pilot for the Newquay Coastguard helicopter, also joined the celebrations.

Baby born on helicopter
Linda Benson, left, with baby Torran, obscured, being held by Alicia MacDonald after his birth on a Coastguard helicopter (Royal Cornwall Hospitals/PA)

“We’ve kept in touch with Alicia and Sandy and we’re absolutely delighted they wanted to come back and see us all. While we don’t expect to get thanked for our 24/7 coastal search and rescue work, it’s really lovely when we do.”

Torran was keen to be born, arriving around halfway through the 25-minute helicopter ride back to the mainland shortly before 9pm.


Mrs MacDonald said: “They picked us up and I think we were only 10 to 15 minutes into the journey when Torran came out, so not long!

“We had a good 10 minutes of holding him before we landed on the ground.”

Alicia and Sandy MacDonald celebrate Torran's first birthday
Alicia and Sandy MacDonald celebrate Torran’s first birthday (Ben Birchall/PA)

“They were fantastic and definitely put us at ease,” she said.

“I think that’s why he came so quickly was because we were allowed to be calm and know they were there for us.

“Having Linda the midwife on board was certainly a great help. It all happened very quickly.”

The happy family have since stayed in touch with the crew members they reunited with, as well as winchman Ed Griffiths.

Mrs MacDonald added: “We remember the guys who were on the coastguard and Linda and we have kept in touch with them since last year, sending pictures and postcards and presents back and forth and that’s why we decided to come back and say a proper thank you.

“It’s been very nice to come back and meet everyone and show them Torran.”

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