'Miracle' as Kiwi tot saved from sea

World | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 7 Nov 2018

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 incident could have ended in tragedy.

Gus Hutt was preparing for an early morning fishing excursion when he saw what appeared to be a doll bobbing past him at Matata Beach in the North Island's Bay of Plenty.

"I thought he was just a doll," Hutt said of the October 26 incident. "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 was 18-month-old Malachi Reeve, who had gotten out of his sleeping parents' tent, then made his way from the beach into the water.

"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."

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