UNBELIEVABLE! Fisherman rescues baby as he floated on sea
A New Zealand baby was plucked from the ocean as he floated past a fisherman in a rescue hailed as “ miraculous” by water safety experts, who warned the accident could easily have ended in tragedy.
Gus Hutt was preparing for an early morning fish when he saw what appeared to be a doll bobbing past him in a rip current at Matata Beach in the North Island’ s Bay of Plenty .
“ I thought he was just a doll, ” Hutt told the Whakatane Beacon of the incident on October 26. “ So I reached out and grabbed him by the arm , even then I still thought it was just a doll.
“ His face looked just like porcelain , with his short hair wetted down, but then he let out a little squeak and I thought ‘ oh God this is a baby and it’ s alive ’ . ”
It turned out the “ doll” was 18-month-old Malachi Reeve , who had opened the zip of his sleeping parents’ tent , then made his way out of a beachside campsite and into the water, where a current caught him .
Hutt, a local, said he had altered his usual routine slightly and was about to cast off about 100 metres ( 110 yards) from his normal spot on the shoreline when the object floated by .
“ He was floating at a steady pace with a rip in the water . If I hadn ’ t been there , or if I had just been a minute later I wouldn’ t have seen him , ” Hutt said .
“ He was bloody lucky , but he just wasn ’ t meant to go . It wasn ’ t his time . ”
Malachi’ s parents were alerted and rushed to the camp reception , where mother Jessica Whyte found her boy “ purple , cold and looking smaller than usual ” .
But after treatment from paramedics, he was given the all clear and Whyte said he was unaffected by his ordeal.
“ He ’ s himself . Maybe he ’ ll be more aware of water, not run into beaches . But he’ s definitely himself , ” she told the Stuff news website .
She said the toddler had been fascinated by the sea the previous day and must have woken up early to explore .
Water Safety New Zealand chief executive Jonty Mills said Malachi’ s case may have ended happily but it showed the dangers children face around water.
“ This is a pretty miraculous survival story , ” he told AFP.
“ It really is just a matter of luck that the fisherman was in the right place at the right time and was able to pull the child out of the water. ”
He said seven pre – schoolers drowned last year in New Zealand and there had been three fatalities involving children under five so far in 2018.
“ It takes less than a minute for a child to drown, ” he said .
“ The only way to keep babies and toddlers safe around water is constant active adult supervision at all times . ”