Fisherman saves toddler floating face-down in the ocean

Toddler Malachi Reeve is still himself after the near-drowning mum Jessica Whyte says

JESSICA WHYTEToddler Malachi Reeve is still himself after the near-drowning mum Jessica Whyte says

A fisherman rescued a baby last month after spotting the child floating face down in the water at Matata Beach in the eastern Bay of Plenty Region in the North Island of New Zealand.

He initially thought it was a doll, until he "let out a little squeak".

A fisherman has saved the life of a baby boy who had slipped unnoticed out of his parents' tent, crawled down a beach to the waves and was being swept out to sea.

Murphy's Holiday Camp co-owner Rebecca Salter told The Associated Press that the rescue was "miraculous and fateful" after Hutt, a regular at the campground, had made a decision to fish at a different spot than usual and the sea had been particularly calm.

"If I hadn't been there, or if I had just been a minute later I wouldn't have seen him", 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.

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.

According to the newspaper, Hutt's wife, Sue, alerted camp staff as to what had happened, and they directed her to the child's parents, as they were the only guests checked in with a baby.

Malachi's mother, Jessica Whyte was woken at about 7.30am to the camp manager informing her that Malachi had been rescued from the sea.

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

"My husband came around the corner with the baby in his arms", she said. Fortunately, his distance from the shoreline suggests that he wasn't in the water for very long before Hutt saw him.

"I thought he was just a doll", Hutt told the Whakatane Beacon of the incident on October 26. "It's the first time they've been here", Salter said. "It was a very, very lucky could have been a very tragic incident", Rebecca Salter, co-owner of the camp, told the BBC.

"He was wriggling trying to get down to have a look at everything, he was just a lovely, cheeky little fella". Police briefly attended the scene but said they were not taking any further action.

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