Baby Farah was on her way to spend her life in Australia when she suddenly and tragically died during a flight to Perth yesterday.
Farah was born in Saudi Arabia two months ago and was migrating with her young parents, according to fellow passenger Nadia Parenzee.
Ms Parenzee tried to help Farah and comfort her parents after the baby became ill midway through the AirAsia flight from Kuala Lumpur.
She said Farah was “crying continuously” and “very, very distressed” when they boarded the aeroplane soon after midnight in the Malaysian capital.
“I said to them if you need any help, I’m happy to, you know, give a cuddle,” Ms Parenzee, pictured, said. “I sat down and fell asleep for five minutes, then the stewardess tapped me on the shoulder and said ‘Can you help me?’”
When the former nurse from Atwell took Farah in her arms, she realised it was not just comfort the baby girl needed, but emergency medical attention.
“They gave me the baby and I just went ‘Oh my goodness, this baby is grey’. The baby wasn’t breathing properly,” she said.
“I thought this is going to be a medical emergency. I put the baby on the counter where they prepare the food. I felt her pulse and felt her breath and thought ‘Oh my God, this baby is dying’.”
She said Farah took a last breath and went limp in her arms.
Ms Parenzee, who is now an interior designer, said she told the flight attendant that Farah needed a doctor immediately.
They were halfway through the 51/2-hour flight and the decision was made to continue to Perth, rather than divert elsewhere.
A call went out to all passengers and four doctors came forward to try and save Farah. They spent the next 21/2 hours giving her CPR.
“They took it in turns. They were exhausted,” she said.
In the meantime, Ms Parenzee stayed with Farah’s worried parents and they prayed for their daughter. She said they told her that Farah’s father was a PhD student in Perth and they were returning to WA following her birth to live as a family in Australia.
Ms Parenzee said, just before the plane landed, she had to tell Farah’s father that she had died.
“He lost it. He fell on the floor on his knees, crying. They were just distraught and so, so heartbroken,” Ms Parenzee said.
AirAsia confirmed the medical emergency on flight D7236, which landed in Perth at 5.35am. Farah and her parents were immediately taken from the aircraft.
“The safety and wellbeing of our guests is always our number one priority, and in accordance with procedure, the flight crew requested medical assistance on landing at Perth International Airport,” an airline spokesman said.
“Upon arrival, the aircraft was met by a team of medical specialists and the relevant authorities, including the West Australian Police. We are unable to comment further on the infants’ medical situation, however our thoughts are with the infant and family involved.”
WA Police said yesterday that the baby’s death was not suspicious and a report would be prepared for the coroner.
The return flight to Kuala Lumpur was delayed for four hours as police investigated.