Wednesday, 18 September, 2019

New Zealand fisherman stumbles across toddler in the sea

The baby was scooped out of the water at Matata Bay in northern New Zealand The baby was scooped out of the water at Matata Bay in northern New Zealand Credit Robert & Robyn Bridgewater
Patty Aguilar | 06 November, 2018, 15:32

Fisherman Gus Hutt, pictured with his wife Sue, saved 18-month-old Malachi Reeve after he had escaped from his parents' tent at Matata Beach, near Whakatane, New Zealand.

Gus Hutt, who was fishing at a beach near a holiday park in the Bay of Plenty region of the North Island, thought he was pulling a doll from the ocean before realising he had rescued a baby when the boy "let out a little squeak".

'His face looked 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",' Mr Hutt said, according to NZ Herald.

Malachi's mother, Jessica Whyte, recalled the moment she and her partner were awoken by the camp manager.

Hutt says he usually fishes at a spot straight out from Murphy's Holiday Camp, but spotted the boy floating in the water after choosing a spot 100 yards to the left and checking his fishing lines.

It is believed the toddler unzipped the tent while his parents were sleeping and walked down to the beach, where his footsteps were found entering the ocean about 15 metres from where Hutt spotted him. "I must've just missed seeing him go in".

"He was floating at a steady pace with a rip in the water", he said.

Mr Hutt added the boy was "bloody lucky" he chose to check his lines, believing the child could have been pulled away in the rip.

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'It was disgusting in between hearing that and seeing him, ' she told Stuff.

"I don't think my heart [beat] from hearing that to seeing him. I don't think my heart worked", she said.

Emergency services arrived with the Matata Volunteer Fire Brigade and treated the boy for 15 minutes before an ambulance arrived to take him to Whakatāne Hospital.

She said the toddler had been fascinated by the sea the previous day and must have woken up early to explore.

Luckily, Ms Whyte's son was OK.

"They were horrified and in disbelief", Salter said.

"Zip your tents up".

"It came as a shock to everyone. It was a very, very lucky result.it could have been a very tragic incident", Rebecca Salter, co-owner of the camp, told the BBC. Police briefly attended the scene but said they were not taking any further action.

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