Woman Arrested After Newborn Baby Found in Trash Bin of Airplane Bathroom

A 20-year-old Madagascar woman has been accused of abandoning her newborn baby in an airplane lavatory after allegedly giving birth mid-flight.

According to the BBC, the incident took place on New Year's Day, on an Air Mauritius flight from Madagascar to the island nation of Mauritius.

The woman, whose name has not been released, was suspected of giving birth to the baby boy at some point during the flight. However, the infant was only discovered after the aircraft had landed at Mauritius' Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport, as airport staff completed a routine customs check.

Officials had become suspicious after finding bloody toilet paper on the aircraft during the check, The Straits Times reported.

Upon finding the newborn, officials rushed the baby to a hospital for treatment. Meanwhile, authorities identified the woman they believed to be the infant's mother.

According to the BBC, at first, the woman said the child was not hers. A medical evaluation, however, confirmed authorities' suspicions that she had recently given birth.

The woman is under medical observation, and, upon her release, is expected to face police questioning and potential child abandonment charges. She had been traveling to Mauritius on a two-year work permit, the BBC report said.

Both the woman and the baby are said to be in good health, despite the ordeal.

While reports of abandoned newborns on aircraft are rare, there have been reports of similar incidents. In 2010, NBC News reported that a baby boy was found abandoned in an airplane trash bag after his mother allegedly gave birth on a flight from the Middle East to the Philippines.

Abandoning a child in this manner is typically illegal. In 1989, the Associated Press reported that a woman was sentenced to six months of jail time after giving birth in an airplane bathroom and leaving the baby in the trash.

In many places, including the U.S., there are "Safe Haven" laws to prevent the abandonment of infants in dangerous places, like "public restrooms or trash receptacles."

According to the Children's Bureau, which works with federal, state, tribal and local agencies to improve the overall health and well-being of children and families in the U.S., "infant safe haven laws have been enacted as an incentive for mothers in crisis to safely relinquish their babies to designated locations where the babies are protected and provided with medical care until a permanent home is found."

In most cases, the parent is allowed to remain anonymous and is "shielded from criminal liability and prosecution for child endangerment, abandonment, or neglect in exchange for surrendering the baby to a safe haven."

Although they vary state-to-state, common safe haven locations include hospitals, fire stations, police stations, and churches.

Newborn Baby
On Saturday, a Madagascar woman was accused of giving birth during a flight and abandoning her newborn in the lavatory's trash bin. Pictured, a stock photo of a three-month-old baby. Arindam Ghosh/iStock / Getty Images Plus