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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 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 18-month-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 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 .

“ 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 . ”

Malachi’ s parents were alerted and rushed to the camp reception , where mother Jessica Whyte found her boy “ purple , cold and looking smaller than usual ” .

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

“ He ’ s himself . Maybe he’ ll be more aware of water, not run into beaches . But he’ s definitely himself , ” she told the Stuff news website .

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

Water Safety New Zealand chief executive Jonty Mills said Malachi’ s case may have ended happily but it showed the dangers children face around water.

“ This is a pretty miraculous survival story , ” he told AFP.

“ It really is just a matter of luck that the fisherman was in the right place at the right time and was able to pull the child out of the water. ”

He said seven pre - schoolers drowned last year in New Zealand and there had been three fatalities involving children under five so far in 2018.

“ It takes less than a minute for a child to drown, ” he said .

“ The only way to keep babies and toddlers safe around water is constant active adult supervision at all times . ”

source :https://punchng.com/fisherman-rescues-baby-as-he-floated-on-sea/

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