Saturday 1 October 2016

Hero Ryanair pilot helps deliver baby on side of the road

Geraldine Gittens

Published 30/03/2016 | 13:49

Hero Ryanair pilot Brian Coomey with baby Conor Brian, who he helped to deliver. Photo courtesy of the Evening Echo.
Hero Ryanair pilot Brian Coomey with baby Conor Brian, who he helped to deliver. Photo courtesy of the Evening Echo.

A Ryanair pilot has been hailed a hero after he helped to deliver a baby in total darkness on the side of a road in West Cork.

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Captain Brian Coomey came to the rescue of Elizabeth McCarthy (33) and her partner Humphrey Kearney on Easter Sunday when Elizabeth went into labour sooner than expected.

The couple were en route to Cork University Maternity Hospital at 4am after Elizabeth woke up with pains and suspected that she might be going into labour.

“He wasn’t due until the 7th of April. My other little boy came at this time as well. But it was still unexpected. I was out with my family because it was Easter weekend… we were up talking until 2.40pm and then went to bed, but at about 3.30pm I just got a pain, but my waters didn’t break or anything. Twenty minutes later there was another pain, and then soon after that another, so I said ‘we’d better go’.”

On the way to hospital, Elizabeth realised that her last contractions had been two minutes apart. The couple rang 999 and a paramedic Kate advised the couple to find a safe place to pull over.

“Kate was outstanding. She stayed calm the whole situation. She told me to get into the back seat of the car, and as I was doing that my partner was flagging down the first car that came down. He obviously knew he couldn’t do it on his own.”

“It was Brian, the Ryanair pilot, that stopped for us - at 4.55am in the pitch black. Not everyone would stop. We’re so lucky that it was him that stopped for us. Even at that time, there weren’t very many people on the road.”

“Straight away he came over to the car to me and I was lying down on my back at this stage. He introduced himself, was talking to Kate on the phone. He said ‘my wife has three kids, I was there for all of them, you’ll be fine’. Kate was telling Brian and my partner to get blankets when the baby came out.”

Elizabeth McCarthy with her son Conor Brian, who was born the side of the road in darkness on Easter Sunday. Photo courtesy of the Evening Echo.
Elizabeth McCarthy with her son Conor Brian, who was born the side of the road in darkness on Easter Sunday. Photo courtesy of the Evening Echo.

“Only for Brian, he stayed so calm, and listened exactly to what Kate was saying. It was 4.55am when he stopped, and the baby was born at about 5.15am. The main thing was keeping the baby warm. At the time I was calm because it was my third baby.”

“But it took thirty seconds for him to cry after he was born so that was scary.”

Dr Jason Van Der Velde, a volunteer from West Cork Rapid Response, arrived on the scene ten minutes later and he cut the cord.

Soon after, the ambulances arrived and Elizabeth and little Conor were safe. And after all the excitement, Brian had to leave the scene and head for work. Conor was a healthy eight pounds and 12 ounces, coming into the world at 38 weeks and three days.

“Brian had to go to work and he went home to change first and woke up his wife and his three children to tell them what had happened.”

“Fair play to him – delivering a baby and then flying planes.”

“It was only when I got into the ambulance that I started crying over what had happened. On Monday he called in to see us. He’s a complete gentleman and without him, he delivered our baby safely for us. We’re forever grateful to him.

“Conor is perfect. We knew he was a boy and we knew we were going to call him Conor, and we’ve given him the second name Brian.”

“He’ll never forget the story anyway. When he’s older, it’ll be a story to tell.”

The proud mother added: "When things calm down in a couple of weeks we’ll meet again, because his family want to meet the baby. He’s a hero in his little girls eyes.”

Little Conor is now settling into his home with his siblings Amy (4) Denis (2).

"We came home yesterday from the hospital. It happened so fast, but it seems like so long ago now."

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