A newborn baby was found dead and wrapped in a plastic bag on an Etihad flight to Indonesia

An Etihad plane at JFK International Airport in New York.

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An Etihad plane at JFK International Airport in New York.
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Lucas Jackson/Reuters

  • Flight EY474 from Abu Dhabi to Jakarta diverted for a medical emergency.
  • Cleaners later found a dead newborn hidden in a drawer.
  • A 37-year-old woman, who was returning home after four years of domestic work in Abu Dhabi, was arrested upon returning to Indonesia.

A newborn child was found dead on an airplane over the weekend, wrapped in a plastic bag.

Cleaners made the gruesome discovery in a drawer inside a bathroom of an Etihad plane on Saturday night after it landed at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta, Indonesia, Agence France-Presse reported.

The police have arrested a 37-year-old Indonesian woman, identified only as Hani, who they think secretly gave birth on the flight, EY474.

Hani had worked as a domestic helper in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, for the past four years and has a husband and children in Cianjur, Indonesia.

According to Indonesian newspaper The Jakarta Post, Hani said the child was a result of a relationship with her employer in Abu Dhabi.

The woman began bleeding halfway through the flight, according to AFP, and the Airbus A330 she was traveling on had to divert at Bangkok so a medical team could evacuate her.

A map roughly showing the Etihad flight's route.

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A map roughly showing the Etihad flight’s route.
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Google Maps/Business Insider

A passenger, Francesco Calore, told AFP: “The woman was in economy class but then [the airline] laid on a business-class seat with an oxygen mask. The captain then announced we should divert to Bangkok.”

It wasn’t clear whether anybody on board the plane thought Hani was pregnant or had given birth.

Etihad’s guidelines say expectant mothers need a medical certificate to fly in the last 10 weeks of their pregnancy and should not fly at all in the final four.

Hani returned to Indonesia early Sunday morning, the day after her original flight had arrived. She was arrested at Jakarta Airport.

Ahmad Yusef, Jakarta’s police chief, told AFP the migrant worker “didn’t look healthy.”

The cause of the infant’s death remains unknown.