Friday, September 17, 2010

Gulf Air: Support for baby George 'overwhelming'

MANILA, Philippines - Gulf Air disclosed on Friday that it has received "hundreds of messages of support" for the baby abandoned in one of its flights to Manila last Sunday.

"Support for the baby from people around the world has been overwhelming. GF has received hundreds of messages of suport for baby George via e-mail, telephone and Facebook," the airline said in statement.

The airline said it is "currently in discussions" with Philippine authorities on how it can further help the baby.

Amid reports that it has not been cooperating with Philippine authorities, Gulf Air also said it is assisting the government "to identify the mother."

On Thursday, Gulf Air provided National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) access to the aircraft.

The NBI personnel were able to "extract samples from blood specks which will now be tested for DNA."

The DNA is being conducted to confirm if indeed "Tessa" (not her real name), an overseas Filipino worker, is the mother of George Francis,

"Our main priority continues to be the welfare of the baby while the search is on to find the mother," Gulf Air said.

Gulf Air ground handlers found George Frances in a refuse bin on GF 154 upon its arrival last Sunday.

"Tessa" told social workers that she was the mother after being traced through the passenger list and blood stains on her seat, NBI chief Magtanggol Gatdula said on Thursday.

"She readily admitted when we showed her the (seat) picture," Gatdula told reporters. The woman told social workers she gave birth on the plane toilet as the jet was about to land, he added.

The authorities would not say if the woman would face criminal charges.

"We look at her more (as) a victim, maybe of trafficking. Right now our concern is her health," Gatdula said.

"Yesterday, she was in shock, but she is getting better now. Our concern is to make sure that she recovers," he added.

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