Aer Lingus never experienced an arrival like the one that occurred on June 11, 1975, when Patrick Loureiro was born on board a charter flight from Mozambique to Lisbon.
The new arrival appeared three hours after takeoff from Beira in Mozambique on board the 747 St Patrick, a charter flight operated by Aer Lingus for the Portuguese airline TAP with an Irish crew.
A qualified nurse, air hostess Jackie Ryan and passenger Dr Antonio Fachada took the baby’s mother Maria Loureiro into the first-class lounge upstairs which they had converted into an emergency maternity unit.
Much to the delight of the 393 passengers on board, Patrick — named after the plane — arrived somewhere over Zambia and continued his journey wrapped in blankets and a steward’s jacket.
Yesterday, after Aer Lingus launched a Facebook search for Patrick, he was re-united in Dublin with nurse Jackie, who had emigrated to the United States.
The search for Patrick began in June, when the Aer Lingus social media team got an email from an ex-member of cabin crew named Mutsumi who now works in head office.
“Mutsumi had found a picture that was posted to a private Facebook group of a family on board a plane,” said Aer Lingus, in a post on its Facebook page.
“The mother looked to have just delivered a baby, and the background provided was quite unbelievable; it was 1975 and this baby had just arrived while flying on a charter flight from Mozambique to Lisbon. It was also suggested that the baby had been named Patrick after the aircraft they were travelling on. Mutsumi wondered if we could find out whatever happened to the baby, and whether we could get back in touch.”
Aer Lingus was a little sceptical about the chances of finding a boy without his surname but its media team located an Irish Independent article from 1975 which confirmed the story.
“A search on Google, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn wasn’t giving us much to go on, so we turned to our Facebook community for help.”
On July 11, a Facebook post arrived from Patrick and his page showed pictures of his birth on board St Patrick were visible on his profile page. He could be seen, as a baby, in the arms of Jackie Ryan and the aircraft’s captain, both of whom became Patrick’s godparents.
“Amazingly, Patrick still feels a connection with Aer Lingus, and he’s sometimes seen wearing a winged shamrock on his lapel,” said Aer Lingus.
“We’re delighted to be reacquainted with Patrick, and we’re in the process of arranging for him, his wife and his daughter to visit us here in Dublin for a catch up — we have a lot to talk about after 39 years.”
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