New Zealand baby saved from ocean

The Phnom Penh Post - - WORLD -

ANEW 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 18month-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 was about to cast off about 100m from his nor­mal spot on the shore­line when the ob­ject floated by.

“He was bloody lucky, but he just wasn’t meant to go. It wasn’t his time,” he said.

Malachi’s par­ents were alerted and rushed to the camp re­cep­tion where the baby was re­turned.

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