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Chuck Norris delivers Sidmouth mum’s baby in helicopter

17:15 03 October 2013

Proud parents Ella and Barney McLachlan with baby Marcus

Proud parents Ella and Barney McLachlan with baby Marcus


A BABY boy was born in mid-air aboard a helicopter as an emergency team rushed his mum to hospital.

Ella McLachlan, from Sidmouth, was hurried onto the aircraft when she went into labour on the Isles of Scilly – but little Marcus arrived before her feet touched the ground.

Ella and husband Barney had to cut short their anniversary meal when her waters broke four weeks early, but a thick fog prevented her being flown to hospital in Truro.

A Royal Navy helicopter came to the rescue after being diverted to St Martin’s.

Lieutenant commander Chuck Norris, who was on board, said 5lb 3oz Marcus was born ‘somewhere over the River Fal’ 10 minutes before landing.

Doctors are still unsure what location to put on the birth certificate.

Ella’s sister, Kate, dashed to Truro when she heard her nephew was coming.

“We got the phone call to say she was in labour, then we heard she had him in a helicopter – it didn’t sink in right away,” she said.

“He is absolutely gorgeous, very tiny and so sweet – he’s the most calm out of everyone about what happened.”

Marcus was delivered by a midwife flown in from St Mary’s and, as the coastguard heard, the crew of seven on board the chopper increased to eight.

Ella’s dad, Peter Scott, a community gardener in Sidmouth, said the birth was surrounded by coincidences.

The 26-year-old was taken to hospital by the fleet air arm, the same Royal Navy squadron her father had served with in the 1970s.

And her pregnant best friend, also due four weeks later, had her baby the same day.

Ella was brought up in Glenisla Terrace, where her parents still live.

Once a familiar face at Taste of Sidmouth and Brophy’s Coffee Shop, she went on from Sidmouth College to study law at Exeter University.

After going travelling she worked as a nanny in the Isles of Scilly to continue her studies, but then met Barney, 37.

They married and started a bakery, and Ella continues to work as a business manager for a floral delivery company.


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