Published: Tue, November 06, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

'Miracle' as New Zealand baby rescued from sea

'Miracle' as New Zealand baby rescued from sea

18-month-old Malachi Reeve was found by fisherman Gus Hutt floating in the water at Matata Beach, near Whakatane, on New Zealand's north island.

Mr Hutt said he initially thought the little boy was a doll.

"It had a real porcelain face and all that sort of thing, eyes were closed and then all of a sudden it gave a little squeak and I thought "oh my God, it's a baby", said Hutt.

The parents said the baby, named Malachi, had pulled up the zipper of their tent while they were sleeping and crawled under the flap before heading to the beach.

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.

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"If I hadn't been there, or if I had just been a minute later I wouldn't have seen him ... he was bloody lucky, but he just wasn't meant to go".

The toddler had unzipped his family's tent at Murphy's Holiday Camp and walked to the beach without waking his sleeping parents on October 26. "I don't think my heart worked", she told the news agency. The parents didn't realize their child was missing until they were awoken by the camp managers at Matata Beach informing them that their son had been found floating in the sea.

But after treatment from paramedics he was given the all clear and Whyte said he was unaffected by his ordeal.

Whyte said that Malachi normally sleeps until 8 a.m., but thinks the sound of the waves might have woken him.

Although Malachi's parents later thanked Hutt and expressed hopes of meeting again in the future, Hutt notes that there was an added stroke of good fortune that helped him save the boy's life, namely in his choice of fishing location.

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The boy was treated the boy for 15 minutes before an ambulance arrived to take him to Whakatane Hospital.

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

Murphy's Holiday Camp co-owner Rebecca Salter told the BBC the incident unfolded on the first day of the family's stay.

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

A police spokesman confirmed to the Herald that they attended the emergency at 7.45am and were not taking any further action in relation to the case.

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