Baby born on the RER train in Paris: What actually happened?

Two women came to the aid of a mother who was forced to give birth on an RER commuter train in Paris on Monday, with one of them coming forward to describe her unusual experience... and denounce the other passengers on the train.

Baby born on the RER train in Paris: What actually happened?
Illustration photo: RER/AFP
Rail passengers on the busiest train line in Europe experienced delays on Monday morning — no, not because of the strikes, but because a woman was giving birth to her baby boy in the middle of a train.
Two women, Eliane a commercial executive with four adult children who was on her way back from an English lesson, and Aurélie, helped the young mother as she gave birth on the double-decker train at Auber station. 
Eliane, who comes from Val-de-Marne to the south east of Paris, was sitting on the lower level of the train described in an interview with Le Parisien how she first heard some “weak moans” coming from the level above. 
“I was on the floor below when I first heard some weak moans. I thought it was children messing around. The groans started again and then again so I went upstairs to see what was happening,” she said.
“I was there with another lady, Aurélie and we found ourselves alone. All of the people who had been in that part of the train had got off at Auber,” she said. 
“We saw the mother wobble. We laid her down and I just had time to take hold of the baby that was coming into my arms,” she added.
The two women asked a man who was passing by to sound the alarm and call for help and after that the three women and the baby were left alone, waiting for someone to arrive.  
“The minutes seemed endless before help arrived,” Eliane said. “I could only think about putting the baby aside so he could breathe and cutting the umbilical cord. Aurélie made sure that the mother remained conscious and that the baby was not cold.” 
But she went on to bemoan the reactions of the other passengers. 
“What is serious was the indifference,” she said. “Nobody went to see why this lady was moaning, what was happening. And then everyone got off the train without helping her.”
“It could have ended really badly,” Eliane said. 
Luckily the mother and her baby were both doing well after the unexpected birth, according to announcements by French transport authority RATP. 
 “We can confirm that everything is going well. Emergency services are currently on the train helping the mother,” announced the network on its Twitter feed. 
The President of the Ile-de-France region, Valerie Pécresse tweeted: “All sorts of events occur on the RER, some of them happier than others! A long and happy life to the baby.”
And it looks like the newborn is already likely to be the envy of some of its fellow commuters with the network announcing that the baby would benefit from free travel until his 25th birthday. 

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France’s mystery rooftop panther stolen from zoo

A black panther rescued from rooftops near the northern city of Lille last week has been stolen from the zoo where it was taken after capture, officials said.

France's mystery rooftop panther stolen from zoo
Photo: AFP/ Sapeurs Pompiers du Nord

The feline was seized overnight from the zoo in Maubeuge near the Belgian border, the city's mayor, Arnaud Decagny, told AFP on Tuesday.

“This animal was the only target,” Decagny said, adding that “considerable efforts” were made to force locks and avoid security systems.

Zoo personnel are worried about the young panther's health, “which is rather delicate because he lacks strength,” the mayor added, saying the animal was just a few months old and weighed between 25 and 30kg.

The panther after its capture. Photo League Protectrice des Animaux de la Nord de France/AFP

The panther was going to be transferred to a centre specialised in rehabilitating wild animals that had been domesticated.

Firefighters caught the cat last Wednesday as it roamed rooftops in Armentieres after escaping through the window of a private apartment believed to have been its home.

The panther's owner is thought to have escaped through the same window, for fear of being charged with illegally harbouring a wild animal.

Police have not located the fugitive owner, who could face charges of endangering the public, which is punishable by up to a year in prison and €15,000 in fines, Decagny said.