Off-Duty Nurse Saves Baby’s Life Who Stopped Breathing Mid-Flight


A brief clip that went viral on Twitter shows a man rocking his three-month-old baby girl at the front of an airplane after being revived by a nurse who had been aboard the plane.

Everyone on the plane clearly was waiting to hear news of the baby’s condition after she had stopped breathing 30 minutes into the Pittsburgh to Orlando flight, and the sighs of relief and applause were a warm welcome to a tense moment.

The nurse, Tamara Panzino, was a passenger on the Spirit Airlines Flight 1691 on Thursday night from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Orlando, Florida, and her heroism went viral thanks to the video shot by Fox 35 meteorologist Ian Cassette, who had also been aboard the plane.

Three-month-old Anjelé became suddenly unresponsive just a half hour into the flight, and Panzino reacted quickly, massaging the infant’s chest and legs until she started breathing again. 

“On my flight back from Pittsburgh to Orlando, a baby stopped breathing three rows ahead of me,” Casette tweeted on Thursday along with the footage of the relieved parents and passengers. “Thankfully a nurse (Tamara Panzino) was able to get the baby to breathe again.”

Cassette’s tweets made no mention of what caused the baby to stop breathing but noted that the little girl’s parents said that she had never had a similar incident occur previously. 

Panzino spoke to Fox35 after the tense moment on the plane, saying, “When you have to step forward and do what’s right, you do it. It was just a happy story, and it made me feel really good.”

In a follow-up tweet, Cassette wrote, “[The parents] praised the positive energy of the plane and the heroic actions of Tamara for saving her.”

Because of the 20-year veteran nurse’s quick thinking, the flight didn’t have to make an emergency landing, arriving seven minutes early to Orlando.

Spirit Airlines released a statement about the medical incident, saying, “We’re currently gathering information to learn more. We thank our crew and guest for the quick response.”

“Our Flight Attendants are trained to respond to medical emergencies onboard and utilize several resources, including communicating with our designated on-call medical professionals on the ground, using onboard medical kits, and receiving assistance from credentialed medical professionals traveling on the flight.”