updated 3/18/2009 7:37:37 PM ET 2009-03-18T23:37:37

New Zealand police are investigating whether a passenger abandoned her newborn child after giving birth aboard an international flight to the country from Samoa, an official said Thursday.

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Initial reports suggested the mother left the baby aboard the plane upon landing in New Zealand; others suggested she then tried to return for the baby. Police declined to comment on the reports.

"We are investigating suggestions that the baby was abandoned on board the aircraft," police communications manager Ana-Mari Gates-Bowey told The Associated Press. "We are not 100 percent sure."

Gates-Bowey said "the mother and baby are both well and at (a maternity ward in) Middlemore Hospital and back together."

The Pacific Blue airline said in a statement "a female guest gave birth on board our flight DJ94 from (the Samoan capital) Apia to Auckland this morning."

"We are relieved to have been informed that both mother and child are reunited, are well and are now being looked after in hospital," the statement added.

News agency New Zealand Press Association quoted an unnamed Auckland Airport staffer saying it was not known if other passengers and crew on the Pacific Blue flight from Samoa noticed the woman was in labor.

It quoted the airport staff member saying that "the baby was found on the aircraft" after landing.

Police said were still investigating whether the airline was advised the woman was in an advanced stage of pregnancy.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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