By Oren Liebermann and Paul LeBlanc, CNN
An infant who become unresponsive on a flight carrying Afghan evacuees has died after landing in Philadelphia, the Department of Defense confirmed Thursday.
The baby was traveling from Ramstein Air base in Germany on a C-17 when the crew was notified that “an infant was unresponsive,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Chris Mitchell said in a statement. The aircrew requested medical assistance and priority air traffic control arrival routing.
“The flight landed at Philadelphia around 9:15 EDT. Emergency medical technicians and an interpreter met the aircraft, and the child and father were transported to a children’s hospital in Philadelphia where the child was pronounced dead. Our thoughts and prayers are with the parents and the family,” Mitchell said.
Ramstein Air base, where the infant was traveling from, is one of the largest US air bases outside America and has become a crucial hub for the evacuation from Afghanistan following the Taliban take over.
Since August 20, about 106 planes have landed there — mostly C-17s, their cargo bays crammed with hundreds of evacuees at a time. The airbase was ready with tents to house 10,000 people — but they quickly filled up. As of Wednesday morning, almost 12,000 evacuees had left the base, while another 14,900 remained. The number of evacuees to have arrived at Ramstein so far is nearly triple the population of the German municipality that hosts the base.
Ramstein is also where 20 wounded US service members and 10 injured Afghans were flown after the deadly terrorist attack outside Kabul airport last week, before being taken to a medical center five minutes from the base.
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CNN’s Atika Shubert contributed to this report.