Baby flown under ash cloud for surgery

A ROYAL Flying Doctor Service jet has raced beneath a volcanic ash cloud over Western Australia to get a baby to Melbourne for life-saving surgery.

The plane was due to fly the baby east today, but the ash plume from a Chilean volcano brought forward its departure to about 1 pm (WST) on Wednesday.

RFDS spokesperson Lesleigh Green told AAP the baby had had severe heart defects since birth and needed highly specialised surgery that was not available in Perth.

The ash cloud was moving north-east across Western Australia's south-west region and the jet