A baby born in midair on a U.S.-bound plane is doing well, and the father claims the newborn is American -- though the boy was actually born over African airspace to a Nigerian mother.
The boy, named Ebosalume, was born three hours into a 12-hour flight from Ghana to Atlanta on March 23, The Tampa Tribune reports. Flight attendants and fellow passengers -- a doctor and two nurses -- helped with the delivery, which occurred 36,000 feet above Africa.
With no medical equipment, the impromptu delivery involved scissors and a passenger's shoestring, both sterilized in -- appropriately -- Skyy vodka. Questions about the newborn's citizenship could have become just as complicated -- but apparently they've been resolved.
The mother of the baby born on a plane is Nigerian. Her baby wasn't due until April 15, so she was cleared to fly to the United States to reunite with her fiancé, the baby's father.
The father, Greg Idoni, 38, works as a surgical technician at a hospital in Fresno, Calif. "Idoni said because he is a naturalized U.S. citizen, his son also has U.S. citizenship," The Fresno Bee reports.
That explanation seems to fly with what the U.S. State Department's Foreign Affairs Manual says about babies born on airplanes:
- A baby born on a plane over U.S. territory, or within 12 nautical miles of U.S. shores, is a U.S. citizen by birth, the manual says.
- But if the plane is not over U.S. territory, the 1944 Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation may come into play. Under that treaty, a baby born on a plane becomes a citizen of the country where the plane is registered.
- If a baby is born on a plane while in another country's airspace, however, that country may have "concurrent jurisdiction," the State Department says.
The manual also states that general U.S. citizenship laws apply to babies born on planes outside U.S. territory. One law grants citizenship if one of the baby's parents is a U.S. citizen who's lived in the country for at least one continuous year.
That law seems to apply to Greg Idoni's newborn son, whose name Ebosalume means "what God did for me." Father, mother, and the baby born on a plane were set to finally reunite in California over the weekend.
- Woman Flying to Fresno Gives Birth on Plane (Fresno's KGPE-TV)
- U.S. Citizenship & Naturalization Overview (FindLaw)
- Flight Crew Takes Slapped Baby Mid-Flight (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- Emily Ruiz, 4, Deported: 'Anchor Baby' Debate Ensues (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)